After 30 Years, Barbara Bush’s Cause Remains Relevant: Upcoming Event Shines Light on the Power of Literacy

After 30 Years, Barbara Bush’s Cause Remains Relevant: Upcoming Event Shines Light on the Power of Literacy

First Lady Barbara Bush with this year's featured author Jean Becker

ON TUESDAY, APRIL 9, the Barbara Bush Houston Literacy Foundation hosts its 30th annual A Celebration of Reading at the Hobby Center for the Performing Arts. Proceeds from the event will advance the foundation’s mission to improve the lives of children and adults through the power of literacy. For the late First Lady Barbara Bush, the ability to read, write, speak and listen, to comprehend and communicate with the world around us, was not only a fundamental human right but key to the economic health and social development of our communities.


“Mom designed this event 30 years ago to shine the light on her cause of literacy and demonstrate to everyone that reading is joyful and a foundational skill for living the American Dream,” says Neil Bush, who co-founded the organization with his wife Maria. “The 2024 A Celebration of Reading will be an inspiring milestone event and a platform during which we will commemorate Dad’s 100th birthday.”

Five authors will present at the event, including New York Times bestselling authors Jean Becker, Chris Bohjalian, Brad Taylor, and James McBride, and touring comedian and television and film actor, Gary Gulman. Becker, who currently lives in Houston, was chief of staff for George H.W. Bush from March 1, 1994, until his death on Nov. 30, 2018, and supervised his office operations in both Houston and Kennebunkport, Maine. Her latest book Character Matters: And Other Life Lessons from George H.W. Bush will be released in April 2024.

Thanks to its sponsors, including title sponsor Phillips 66, the event has already raised $1.5 million towards its $2 million goal. “Over the years, proceeds from A Celebration of Reading have enabled the foundation to develop and scale research-based literacy programs to address the childhood and adult literacy crisis that exists in our community,” said Barbara Bush Houston Literacy Foundation President and CEO Julie Finck. “We look forward to another decade of difference-making through the support of the Houston Community.”

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