An Evening Celebration to Remember

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Barbara Bush Foundation For Family Literacy 

In the U.S. 30 million people over age 16, which is 14% of the country’s adult population, do not read well enough to understand a newspaper story written at the eighth grade level or fill out a job application. Literacy is possibly the most valuable skill a person can have. If you are not literate, you can’t get and hold a good job, help your children succeed in school, or participate fully in our wonderful democracy. The Barbara Bush Foundation for Family Literacy makes the development of these critical literacy skills possible for low literate families across the country.

In April 1995, the Foundation created the first annual A Celebration of Reading in Houston. A Celebration of Reading is a fundraising event that has helped adults and children across the United States become literate through the Barbara Bush Foundation for Family Literacy. The support for this program was so great that additional Celebrations, to support the Foundation's work, now exist in Dallas, Maryland, and Florida. The Barbara Bush Foundation has already awarded more than $40 million dollars to create or extend 902 literacy programs across the country where parents and children learn and read together.

“It’s an exciting opportunity not only for people interested in one specific author but really for anybody who enjoys reading,” says George P. Bush, grandson of George and Barbara Bush. “In years past we’ve had Nobel Peace Prize winners, former presidents, and titans of business. It really runs the gamut of who we bring in and attract to this event.”

Past events have proven to exceed expections and produced moments to be remembered. George P.'s wife Amanda Bush, recalls an emotional moment for her. “Last year was probably the most memorable for me. George was deployed to Afghanistan and one of the authors he recommended to his grandmother was Donovan Campbell who wrote a book called Joker One. It was about his time in Iraq and he was a leader of a marine troop. I will never forget that he said when people ask him what they can do to honor soldiers he tells them ‘make the United States a better country to come home to.’ It brought up a lot of emotion not only in me but the audience as well.”  

This year’s celebration marks the 10th anniversary of the Dallas/Fort Worth event. The 2011 Celebration of Reading Dallas/Fort Worth is scheduled for Monday, November 7, 2011 at the Morton H. Meyerson Symphony Center in Dallas. This special event is also an exciting opportunity for donors to meet some of today’s most talked-about authors, and enjoy a wonderful evening. The night is hosted by President George H.W. Bush and Mrs. Barbara Bush and their grandchildren Amanda & George P. Bush, and features appearances by several members of the Bush family.

Each year, Mrs. Bush personally invites her favorite authors who give freely of their time to bring their written words to life in a professionally produced program including video, a wonderful set, and other hallmarks of a real "theatrical performance." A highlight of the show has always been an inspirational testimony from a special guest of honor - a student whose life has benefited from the work of the Foundation.

Before the program, major donors attend the Authors' Reception where they enjoy the opportunity to mix-and-mingle with their host and the authors. All guests attend a supper among friends after the program and each guest goes home with a complimentary book written by one of the featured authors.

 Authors appearing at the 2011 Celebration include:

  • David Feherty, author and Golf Commentator for CBS
  • Gayle Tzemach Lemmon, author of  ‘The Dressmaker of Khair Khana’
  • Ben Mezrich, author of  ‘The Accidental Billionaires: The Founding of Facebook, A Tale of Sex, Money, Genius and Betrayal
  • Wes Moore, author of  ‘The Other Wes Moore’
  • Helen Simonson, author of  ‘Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand’

Last year, A Celebration of Reading Dallas/Ft. Worth sold out to a record audience of over 1,300 guests and raised nearly one million dollars. This year, we hope to break that record.

Tickets and sponsorships are available. You can purchase tickets here.