November 2018
Dear Houston Community,

Many of us are beginning to embody the holiday spirit and make plans to celebrate with family and friends. The holiday season is a time when we make a conscious effort to give thanks for the many blessings that have been bestowed on us and extend our gratitude to those who have made a difference in our lives.

I am personally grateful that you have given freely of your time, talent and treasures to support our mission and help so many children and their families have a better life and brighter future through the power of learning how to read. Since Mrs. Bush's passing just six months ago, you have stepped up in an even bigger way through your acts of kindness and generosity and commitment to ensuring that her legacy continues. Your contributions are deeply valued and appreciated.

The holiday spirit brings out the best in us as we seek ways to demonstrate our compassion and selflessness for those in need through volunteerism and charitable giving. As you consider how you will invest your precious resources, I invite you to give the gift of reading. It is a gift that lasts a lifetime and impacts generations.

Thank you for advancing Mrs. Bush’s legacy and our mission.
With deep gratitude,
Julie Baker Finck, Ph.D.
10 ways to foster family literacy during Family Literacy Awareness Month
For nearly 30 years, our beloved Barbara Bush was a champion for family literacy across our nation because she believed reading learning to read begins in the home and that parents are a child’s first and most important teacher. November is National Family Literacy Awareness Month, so we wish to spotlight the importance of family literacy and provide you with ways to foster a literacy-rich environment in your own home.
Family Literacy is a type of literacy education that emphasizes bringing reading and writing into the home and making it a family activity. Research presented by the National Center for Education Statistics has proven that family engagement is one of the most important factors of literacy development, and that children enter kindergarten at a higher reading level when they have a positive learning environment at home. When literary success is highly encouraged and supported by the family, children are more likely to want to read, enjoy reading, and excel academically in all subjects.

The best things you can do for your children for academic success are also the simplest and most natural. Below are ways to foster family literacy in your home.
1.     Let your child see you reading.
2.     Read more than books together -- read road signs, food labels, etc.
3.     Let your child pick out the books you read together.
4.     Visit the library together.
5.     Ask your child questions about the books or pictures.
6.     Find ways to relate the stories to your child’s life.
7.     Create and tell your own stories.
8.     Sing songs and rhymes together with your child.
9.     Write notes to each other and to others.
10.   Create a special place for books and reading time.

“You know, sit with your arm around a little kid. It not only teaches them to read, but it keeps the family strong.” Barbara Bush
Click on events to view details and access the Foundation's full calendar.
NOVEMBER National Family Literacy Month
Bubbles & Books
November 27: all day
November 29: 2-4pm
F irst Lady's Book Club, hosted by Ladies for Literacy Guild
Tacky Sweater Party
Author Book Signing with Ellie LeBlond Sosa, granddaughter to George & Barbara Bush
Big Awesome Book Sort
December 12
YPG Book Distribution at Jefferson ES
A Celebration of Reading Author Announcement
December 18
Literacy Partner Network holiday lunch
A must-attend Jungle Book Gala is only days away
The Jungle Book Gala has become a favorite on the Houston social calendar! This year’s black-tie gala will be complete with food from A Fare Extraordinaire, cocktails, wine and Pura Vida tequila, an incredible silent auction and live music by Matchmaker Band from Austin, Texas. You won’t want to miss this wild event!
The Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo doesn't clown around when it comes to giving back to the community. It awarded the Foundation a $100,000 grant to enable us to expand volunteer-based reading programs in HISD schools and help us corral more Houstonians to serve as reading mentors through our volunteer platform, This generous gift is on the spurs of a three-year $300,000 grant to expand volunteer engagement in Read Houston Read, My Home Library and our two auxiliary groups – Ladies for Literacy Guild and Young Professionals Group – as well as underwrite access to and support for for literacy partners across our city.
Houston Children's Charity makes special gift for Curiosity Cruiser
Thanks to the generosity of Houston Children’s Charity, led by Laura Ward, President & CEO, and Tilman Fertitta, Chairman of the Board, more children across the greater Houston area will have access to books in their homes and educational programming outside of the school day. The gift of $75,000 from Houston Children’s Charity will jump start our Ladies for Literacy Guild’s efforts to build a second Curiosity Cruiser super library on wheels in partnership with the Harris County Public Library. 
Research suggests that families are the most important influence on a child’s language and literacy development. That is why we are proud to continue to increase access to high-quality family literacy programs across our city, the latest being a $50,000 investment in the expansion of the Read and Rise™ program. Read and Rise™ is an evidenced-based program created by Scholastic® that fosters understanding about the family’s role in supporting language and literacy development by encouraging intentional use of literacy development practices in the home. 
Power of Literacy Luncheon raises over $350,000 for literacy efforts
On October 23, the Ladies for Literacy Guild hosted the third annual Power of Literacy Luncheon chaired by Guild founding member, Cathy Cleary. Because of her commitment, the support of an incredible committee and the many generous sponsors, a record 630 people were in attendance and the event raised nearly $350,000.

The luncheon program featured former First Lady Mrs. Laura Bush in a “fireside chat” moderated by her nephew and CEO of Big Brothers Big Sisters Lone Star, Pierce Bush. Their conversation spanned a variety of topics, including the recent, private wedding of daughter Barbara Pierce Bush to Craig Coyne at the Bush family’s Kennebunkport residence; life serving as a First Lady, a school teacher, a librarian and an author; and her relationship with her mother-in-law, Barbara Bush. Mrs. Laura Bush engaged the crowd with her humor, warmth and commitment to literacy.         

Take a moment to peruse the photo gallery from the "Let's Launch Literacy"-themed luncheon.
Ladies for Literacy Guild introduce the First Lady's Book Club
We are excited to share that our Ladies for Literacy Guild has launched the First Lady’s Book Club. Twice a year through the First Lady’s Book Club, Guild members will have an opportunity to share the joy of a book and interact with the author. The first session will feature one of Barbara Bush’s favorite authors and New York Times bestseller Brad Meltzer and his latest book, The Escape Artist.
Iconic art installation in The George Hotel dedicated to First Lady of Literacy
In the lobby of The George, a hotel named for great Georges in Texas history and located just three miles from George Bush Presidential Library and Museum, a floor-to-ceiling, wall-to-wall Texas flag made from 10,000 old books was dedicated to beloved former First Lady Barbara Bush. The book wall has become the most-photographed spot in Century Square.

At the Texas Book Wall dedication, Neil and Maria Bush, co-founders of the Barbara Bush Houston Literacy Foundation, and Brad and Claudia Freels, co-founders of Midway Foundation, unveiled a plaque engraved with the Barbara Bush quote, “My wish is for every parent and child to experience the joy of reading and a lifetime of learning.”
Volunteering is more than a one-time event or delivery for FedEx. It is a culture that permeates its more than 450,000 employees across the globe. Employees from the Houston Field Sales office hosted a Purple Tote program as part of the FedEx Cares campaign in which they filled 100 purple totes with new books. We are grateful that they partnered with us to serve children throughout the Houston community, empowering them with the essential tools to be strong and confident readers. 
Literacy Partner Network meets for final 2018 quarterly meeting
On Halloween, members of our team dressed in costumes of books characters, such as Ninja on the Farm , Coco and If You Give A Mouse a Cookie and hosted the fourth quarterly Literacy Partner Network meeting at the Children’s Museum of Houston. The meeting focused on ‘Corporate Connections’ aimed at assisting literacy partners in strengthening existing or cultivating new partnerships with businesses to advance their goals. It was a real treat spending part of Halloween with such an amazing group of leaders who care about our community and give so freely of their resources to make a meaningful impact.
Mark your calendars and plan to participate in #GivingTuesday, a global day of giving that harnesses the collective power of individuals, communities and organizations to encourage philanthropy and to celebrate generosity worldwide. Following Thanksgiving and the widely recognized shopping events Black Friday and Cyber Monday, this year’s #GivingTuesday will take place on November 27 and kick off the giving season by inspiring people to give back. 
You don’t have to wait until #GivingTuesday to make a difference. Simply shop in support of our cause year-round through our partnerships with Amazon Smile,, Kroger Community Rewards Programs and Randall’s Good Neighbor Program. The Foundation receives a portion of the proceeds from purchases at participating stores. Learn how you can support us with every-day purchases.
We are grateful for the nearly 200 volunteers who participated in My Home Library’s Big Awesome Book Sort on October 26 and 27.
Volunteer groups from Air Liquide, ADP, Walmart, HESS, JLL, Perry Homes, Emmanuel Church of God and Christ, Girl Scout of the USA Troop, Target and Leo Club of Katy contributed to the nearly 500 hours of service to fulfill home libraries for more than 4,500 students (i.e. 30,000 brand new books) as part of our My Home Library program. We especially could not have done it without the tremendous support of Region 4 Education Service Center, led by Dr. Pam Wells, who graciously hosted the 2-day event and lent staff time and talent.

Be a part of our next Big Awesome Book Sort by signing up and serving as a volunteer. Don’t have time? Consider sponsoring a child’s home library for the holidays with your $30 donation.
Hess Corp. distributes My Home Library books to Gallegos Elementary students
After members of the Hess Corporation volunteered their time at the October BABS event, they helped distribute books to Gallegos Elementary School for the second year in a row. Last year, Hess sponsored three schools in the My Home Library program, and added an additional school for this academic year. The sponsorship covers nearly 2,000 students’ home libraries in addition to one school-wide book for the entire school to read together. 
To promote the activities of our Literacy Partner Network, the Foundation highlights volunteer opportunities to give back to the community. Learn more about these featured opportunities: