Three nationally known children’s book authors visited Dallas ISD’s Thomas Tolbert Elementary School on Friday, May 19 – one of them possibly more notable for the eight years she lived in the White House.
Former First Lady Laura Bush visited the school to announce the DFW-area winners of grants through the Laura Bush Foundation for America’s Libraries. Schools in Denton and Arlington are receiving grants in the latest round of awards. She also read the book, Our Great Big Backyard, co-written with her daughter Jenna Bush Hager. The story follows a family as they take a road trip to visit several national parks – at first a girl in the family goes reluctantly but finally sees the value of the natural wonders they encounter.
Author James Luna read his book, The Place Where You Live, and also taught students to say “here, the place where you live” in sign language. Hena Kahn read from her book, Amina’s Voice, about a Pakistani-American Muslim girl navigating the challenges of middle school, on top of the challenges Muslim-Americans sometimes face. Luna and Kahn toured the school Friday morning to see student projects inspired by the three books.
Each student received their own free copy of one of the books, and the school library received copies as well. The authors’ visits and donated books were funded by the Laura Bush Foundation’s “Reading Rock Stars” grant. A precursor to the Texas Book Festival in November, the Reading Rock Stars program funds visits by authors to schools to promote literacy and gives students a book to take home to add to their personal libraries.