Wednesday, September 16, 2009

New Orleans Children Go Back To School with Elephant & Piggie!

Caldecott Award winning children’s author Mo Willems has teamed with Reader To Reader to make back to school a special time for the children of New Orleans.

Thousands of first and second grade students of New Orleans’s public schools are getting their own personal copies of Willems’s delightful Elephant & Piggie books and The Pigeon Wants a Puppy as they begin their school year.

Reader To Reader is working with the Recovery School District to distribute Willem’s books to all the elementary schools.

The Recovery School District was created in the wake of Hurricane Katrina to rebuild the schools destroyed by the devastating 2005 hurricane.

Troy Peloquin of the Recovery School District was delighted to have the donation.

“Love it! Love it! The teachers adore it! It’s a really fun project,” Peloquin notes.

Author and illustrator Mo Willems grew-up in New Orleans and is looking to make a long-term commitment to the children of New Orleans. He shared his motives for making such a large donation.

"I suppose there was a confluence of being a native New Orleanian, having discovered that having books in the home is a determining factor in later educational success, and the waves of Katrina washing away some of my complacency,” Willems says. “I'd sent books to three schools the year before, so including more schools seemed a logical step towards a small gesture that I hope to continue for decades."

Mo has a heart as big as all of Louisiana!” says Reader To Reader executive director David Mazor. “He has done something truly special for these children.”

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