For Immediate Release
Office of the First Lady
June 17, 2006
Mrs. Bush's Remarks After Attending Tomás and the Library Lady
Boys and Girls Club of the East Valley
3:26 P.M. MST
MRS. BUSH: This is a very interesting story because it's true, about the
real Tomás Rivera, who learned to read at a library in Iowa because he went
in every day and he could get books and the library lady was really nice to
him and helped him learn to read, and he helped her learn to speak Spanish.
So the story -- do you get what the message is that we're hoping all of you
understand? And that is to go to the library, spend some time at the
The woman that wrote this book, Tomás and the Library Lady, Pat Mora, lives
in Santa Fe, New Mexico now. She writes a lot of books. I hope maybe -- I
bet the Arizona library, the Maricopa library probably will have Pat Mora
come sometime. So if she does, I hope you all can go meet her and see what
* * * * *
This is a really great example of a collaboration between the library
system and a project like Childsplay. You heard at the very first the
director of Childsplay saying how they were funded, which is a very
American way, like he said, through government funding, through the
National Endowment for the Arts, local philanthropy, local government
funding through the library district, and what happens if they can get the
message out to lots and lots of kids about how important reading is and how
important libraries are.
So I'm really happy to have the chance to be here today. Tim Wadham, who
is the youth services director, is actually on the Laura Bush Foundation
for America's libraries. He's one of the library experts that reads the
grants and -- reads the grant applications and then makes -- chooses the
grants that get funds from the Laura Bush Foundation. They're all school
And like you said at the first, there's a special fund right now for the
Gulf Coast. We've given to ten libraries so far on the Gulf Coast. We've
given to about 400, or a little over 450 libraries nationwide since 2002.
But this summer, we made special grants to ten Gulf Coast libraries, big
grants so they can fully restock their new libraries. And we'll announce
more grants at the end of the summer. As Gulf Coast libraries are rebuilt,
hopefully we'll be able to give grants out so they can restock.
Q Mrs. Bush, what did you like best about the story?
MRS. BUSH: I love this story because I think it's just a wonderful story
of our country, really, of the opportunities that people can have, of the
ways that people like the library lady made an effort to help people who
were in Iowa. And the way the family is loving. The Papa Grande tells the
story that influences these children so that they want to read stories.
And the care that you obviously see that the mother and the dad have for
the children and wanted to make sure they were in school.
And the way the teacher was was really the way they were in the late '30s,
or early '40s, in a lot of -- certainly in Texas, and I'm sure other border
states where Spanish was not allowed in the school.
Q Mrs. Bush, what was your favorite part of the visit to Arizona today?
MRS. BUSH: Well, I loved this. I loved having the chance to see this
play. I've known about it for a long time. Tim had told me about it. And
I knew that the next time I came to Arizona I would -- hoped I'd be able to
see this. And it was really fun to get to watch with all of these kids.
They're so cute. Did you see the dancers that are dressed here, that
danced when we came in? So it was great getting a chance to be here.
END 3:30 P.M. MST