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For Immediate Release
Office of the First Lady
September 30, 2006

Mrs. Bush's Remarks at the 2006 National Book Festival Authors' Breakfast
The East Room

photos  Photos

8:20 A.M. EDT

MRS. BUSH: Welcome, everyone, to the start of the Sixth National Book Festival. Of course, I want to acknowledge our Librarian of Congress, Dr. James Billington. The Library of Congress staff works to put together this great book festival that drew last year 100,000 people to the Mall. I hope you'll draw that many again this year. I think you probably will. So I want to thank Dr. Billington, and I want to thank the Library of Congress staff for your hard work, the work that goes on all year to work for this one day in the fall.

Mrs. Laura Bush talks with Elmo, a puppet on the children's television show Sesame Street, in the East Room of the White House, Saturday, September 30, 2006, during the seventh annual National Book Festival opening ceremony in Washington, D.C. The festival, held on the grounds of the National Mall, will include author readings, book signings, musical performances, and storytelling for children, adults and families. More than 80 noted authors and artists from around the country will participate. White House photo by Shealah Craighead And I also want to recognize my staff for their very, very hard work, as well. Thank you to each and every one of you. (Applause.)

I want to thank our Festival sponsors who make it all possible. I think you all, the authors in the room, might be interested to know that joining us today are some of our sponsors, some of the people from the Madison Council, the council that supports the Library of Congress; a lot of my friends, a few people from the Texas Book Festival. If any of you have ever been to the Texas Book Festival, or if you've been invited, I hope you'll say yes.

But also, we included today presidential speechwriters, so I hope you had a chance to talk to some of them. A whole team of presidential speechwriters are here with us, as well.

And, of course, I want to recognize my Senator, Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison, who is with us today, also as a writer. She's one of our book festival authors.

And, most especially, all the authors. Thanks to each and every one of you for the many solitary hours you spend working to enlighten and inform and inspire and entertain all the rest of us, your readers. (Applause.)

A previous occupant of this house, Thomas Jefferson, once said, "I cannot live without books." He would have been so encouraged to see the thousands of book lovers who are going to show up on the Mall today to meet each and every one of you. So thank you all for being the ones who will draw those thousands of people to the Mall.

This morning, we'll open our annual celebration of good books by hearing from two very gifted authors.

When she's not busy with her job as a forensic anthropologist for the state of North Carolina, Kathy Reichs pens mystery novels that have won awards, thrilled readers, and become international best sellers. And, of course, we've already been introduced to Kevin Clash, an Emmy Award-winning puppeteer -- let's just say he's a very good friend of Elmo's -- who recently wrote, My Life as a Furry Red Monster.

We'll also hear from Brendan Haywood of the NBA's Washington Wizards, and Ruth Riley of the WNBA Detroit Shock. Brendan and Ruth are basketball players who, when they're not on the court, are out in their communities encouraging young people to read. So thank you very much for the support of the NBA and the WNBA for reading.

Mrs. Laura Bush stands with Ruth Riley, Detroit Shock WNBA player, left, and Brendan Haywood, Washington Wizards NBA player, after receiving the NBA Cares award Saturday, September, 30, 2006, during the National Book Festival opening ceremony in the East Room of the White House. White House photo by Shealah Craighead Now I'd like to introduce a man who has devoted his life to teaching and writing, and who encourages Americans to read every day by sharing the resources of our great American library, the Library of Congress. Ladies and gentlemen, the Librarian of Congress, Dr. James Billington. (Applause.)

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