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For Immediate Release
Office of the First Lady
September 29, 2007
Mrs. Bush's Remarks at the 2007 National Book Festival Authors' Breakfast
The East Room
8:25 A.M. EDT
MRS. BUSH: Welcome, everyone, to the White House. Thank you for coming to the 7th Annual National Book Festival. I want to acknowledge and welcome Dr. James Billington, the Librarian of Congress. And I want to thank him and the whole Library of Congress staff for working year-round to produce this one day of a great book festival for all Americans to enjoy. And thank you very much, Dr. Billington.
I also want to thank the Festival sponsors who are the reasons we can afford to put on the Book Festival, and a special thanks and welcome to the members of my staff, the White House staff who are here, who have also worked very hard to make sure this is a terrific festival.
But most of all, welcome to the writers. You're the reason we're here. Today, 70 talented authors will present their books to thousands of readers on the National Mall. This morning, a whole team of presidential speechwriters have joined us as well, and I know they'll appreciate this writerly wisdom from H.G. Wells: "No passion in the world," Wells wrote, "is equal to the passion to alter someone else's draft." (Laughter.)
We'll open our annual celebration of good books today with presentations from two very gifted authors. The White House is the perfect place to hear from Michael Beschloss. When he's not busy writing best-sellers in American presidential history, Michael serves on the board of the White House Historical Association.
Patricia MacLachlan has written some of America's best-loved books, including the Newbery Medal-winning classic, "Sarah, Plain and Tall," which was the American contribution to an anthology of books from around the world that Mrs. Putin is printing in Russian and will be presented at Mrs. Putin's book festival later in October. Thank you so much, Patricia.
We'll also hear from Al Harrington of the NBA's Golden State Warriors, and Ruth Riley, of the WNBA's Detroit Shock. Al and Ruth are talented basketball players who, when they're not on the court, are out in their communities encouraging young people to read.
Now I'd like to introduce a man who encourages Americans to read every day by sharing the resources of our country's great library. Ladies and gentlemen, the Librarian of Congress, Dr. James Billington. (Applause.)
* * * * *
Thank you very much, Al and Ruth. Thank you very much. And Ruth actually mentioned, besides promoting literacy, which is why they're here with us at the National Book Festival, but they also -- the NBA and WNBA has "Nothing but Nets," which you can find on the Internet. And it's a way to give $10 for a mosquito net to save a child's life across Africa. So if you want to help in the Malaria No More campaign, go to "Nothing but Nets" and make your contribution there. That was my advertisement. (Laughter.)
Thank you all so much, and thank you very much, Patricia. That was terrific. I loved hearing your stories and your letters from kids. And Michael, we loved hearing also about those leaders and readers. And thank you so much, both of you, for opening our National Book Festival.
Before we send everyone out to the National Mall to start on the 7th Annual National Book Festival, I'm going to shamelessly plug the Texas Book Festival -- (laughter) -- because we're joined today by the head of the Texas Book Festival, Mary Herman, and the chairman of the Texas Book Festival Advisory Committee, Jan Hughes, if both of you will raise your hands so we can see you. (Applause.)
I also see Adair Margo in the crowd, who is the chairman of the President's Committee on Arts and Humanities. She works not only here but abroad, trying to do what's called cultural diplomacy, reach out to other countries through arts and literature and all of the things that are part of the Arts and Humanities Committee -- President's Committee.
I see Anne Radice, who is the chairman of the Institute of Museum and Library Services, which is the federal agency that works with museums and libraries around the country. And thank you so much, Anne.
I'm probably missing someone. I don't know if Dana Gioia is here from the NEA or Bruce Cole from the NEH.
But thank you all very much. Have fun today on the Mall. I know you'll inspire thousands of readers. And thank you very much for being a part of this festival.
Thank you all. (Applause.)
END 8:50 A.M. EDT