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February 15, 2007

First Lady Patricia Blagojevich announces February selections for Children’s Reading Club: The Cat in the Hat by Dr. Seuss and Walk Two Moons by Sharon Creech

CHICAGO – First Lady Patricia Blagojevich today announced the February book selections for her Children’s Reading Club – Dr. Seuss’ The Cat in the Hat and Sharon Creech’s Walk Two Moons. The Children’s Reading Club, a recommended reading list made up of books the First Lady and her daughters Amy and Annie enjoy at home, encourages parents to read with their children and engage in early development of reading skills.

“It’s so important for children to start reading early and often. Reading is a great way for parents to spend quality time with their children – it also helps to enhance their children’s reading and comprehension skills that will help them become more successful in school,” said the First Lady. “I hope that families will enjoy reading The Cat in the Hat and Walk Two Moons together as much as I have with my own girls.”

The Cat in the Hat has continued to help young children learn to read for fifty years. In the book, Theodor Geisel, a.k.a Dr. Seuss uses a vocabulary of only 236 words to tell the tale of two children, Dick and Sally, who are stuck in the house with nothing to do, until a giant cat in a hat shows up, transforming the dull day into a wild and wacky adventure. Written in 1957, this book revolutionized the way children learn to read, and made Dr. Seuss a household name.

Walk Two Moons is an award-winning novel for students at a middle school reading level. In the book, Sharon Creech intricately weaves together two tales, one funny, one bittersweet, to create a heartwarming, compelling, and utterly moving story of love, loss, and the complexity of human emotion.

The First Lady launched the Children’s Reading Club literacy initiative in March of 2005, and has selected books such as Charlotte’s Web, Harriet the Spy, The Growing-up Feet, Henry Huggins and Number the Stars for the recommended list. Each month’s book selection is featured on the First Lady’s website, http://www.illinois.gov/firstlady.

The First Lady hopes the recommended list will enable parents to find books the whole family can enjoy. The Children’s Reading Club applies to all children, but specifically targets children between the ages of seven and twelve. In conjunction with the passage of the Preschool for All program, the First Lady has added new selections to her reading club, to encourage parents of younger readers to engage in early development of reading skills.

As First Lady, Patricia Blagojevich has worked tirelessly to promote initiatives that help Illinois families bring up happy, healthy, and successful children. In addition to her work with children’s literacy, the First Lady spearheaded the Illinois Pediatric Vision Awareness Initiative, the first state sponsored campaign in the U.S. to specifically target Amblyopia, or ‘lazy eye’, in children. Mrs. Blagojevich has also brought attention to Healthy Families Illinois, a program that helps prevent child abuse by supporting high-risk parents. In addition, she has promoted the Prevention Development Resource Project, a partnership between the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) and Prevent Child Abuse Illinois, and the Governor’s landmark All Kids plan, which makes Illinois the only state in the nation to provide affordable, comprehensive health insurance for every uninsured child in the state.


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