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Barbara Bush Foundation Announces Florida Celebration of Reading Student Essay and Art Contest

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Bonita Springs, Fla. – The Barbara Bush Foundation for Family Literacy announced today the Florida Celebration of Reading Student Essay and Art Contest, open to kindergarten through second-grade students in Southwest Florida, including Charlotte, Collier, and Lee counties.

Since 2001, the Florida Celebration of Reading has raised more than $26 million for the Barbara Bush Foundation in support of family literacy programs that help children and their parents improve their literacy skills.

This year’s event will feature a guest appearance from New York Times best-selling children’s author, Laura Numeroff. The essay and art contest is based on Numeroff’s renowned book, If You Give a Mouse a Cookie.

“We’re honored to have Laura join us for our 17th Annual Florida Celebration of Reading,” said Liza McFadden, president of the Barbara Bush Foundation. “Her books have been a staple in households across America for nearly three decades and are truly some of the most beloved books by children. We can’t wait to read the imaginative stories created by our young readers.”

A panel of education and community leaders will assist in reading and judging entries. Three winners will be selected from each grade. Contest winners, accompanied by their parents, will be recognized at a VIP breakfast kicking off the Celebration of Reading event on Friday, Feb. 17 at the Hyatt Regency Coconut Point Resort & Spa in Bonita Springs. The students will be Numeroff’s guests at the Celebration Student Breakfast and have the opportunity to visit with the author and share their winning submissions.

Numeroff’s If You Give a Mouse a Cookie recounts a young boy’s efforts to satisfy the over- the-top demands of a mouse who visits his home. To enter the contest, young authors/illustrators are asked to write and illustrate a brief story that begins with the sentence, “If you give me a … I’m going to ask for a …” The submission should also include a drawing to illustrate the response.

Entries are limited to a maximum of 100 words, must include an illustration (no larger than 8 ½ by 11 inches), and are due Wednesday, Jan. 18 at 5 p.m. All entries must be submitted electronically to

Contest guidelines and the official contest entry form are available at

All winners will be notified by Friday, Feb. 3, 2017 and posted to

In addition to Numeroff, the Celebration of Reading evening program – chaired this year by Jeb Bush, Jr. – will feature guest appearances from New York Times best-selling authors, Chris Gardner, of the Pursuit of Happyness, also a movie starring Will Smith; Candice Millard, former writer and editor for National Geographic magazine; and Elin Hilderbrand, best-selling author of 17 novels.

For more information about Celebration of Reading and the Barbara Bush Foundation, visit

The Barbara Bush Foundation for Family Literacy is the nation’s leading advocate for family literacy. The Foundation was established by Mrs. Barbara Bush in 1989, and today is a public charity that aspires to achieve a vision of fostering the opportunity for every man, woman and child to secure a better life through literacy. To learn more about the Barbara Bush Foundation for Family Literacy’s commitment to promote family literacy in homes across America, please visit or join the conversation on Facebook or Twitter (@BarbaraBushFdn).

Get in Touch

You may also contact us by phone at 850.562.5300 or by mail at:
Barbara Bush Foundation for Family Literacy
516 North Adams Street • Tallahassee, Florida 32301