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Barbara Bush Foundation Announces 2017 Dallas/Fort Worth Celebration of Reading Student Essay Contest

DALLAS, TX. (Sept. 28, 2017) – The Barbara Bush Foundation for Family Literacy announced today the 2017 Celebration of Reading Dallas/Fort Worth Student Essay Contest, based on author Mary Pope Osborne’s award-winning “Magic Tree House” series.

The contest is open to all students in grades 2-5 from Dallas/Fort Worth area schools in Collin, Dallas, Denton, Ellis, Hood, Hunt, Johnson, Kaufman, Parker, Rockwall, Somervell, Tarrant and Wise counties.

The essay topic focuses on the following prompt: The Magic Tree House books are filled with tales of Osborne’s characters, Jack and Annie. The siblings discover a magical, book-filled tree house that takes them on amazing journeys and historical adventures. Students are asked to write an essay in which they imagine what it would be like to discover their own magic tree house. Where and when would it take them? Who would they meet and what kind of adventures would they have?

“Mary’s series showcases how reading can magically transport us to another place and time, no matter where we are,” said Liza McFadden, president and CEO of the Barbara Bush Foundation. “I encourage all 2nd through 5th grade teachers to introduce their students to the “Magic Tree House” series and have the children explore the journeys they can take through reading.”

Essays should be no longer than 500 words, and the submission deadline is Wednesday, Oct. 11, by 5 p.m. All entries and entry forms must be submitted electronically to Entry forms and contest guidelines are available at

A panel of education and community leaders will assist in reading and judging entries. Twelve winners will be selected: three winners from each grade (2-5). Winners will be notified by Thursday, Oct. 19. Winners’ names will also be posted on the Foundation’s website,

As the kickoff to the Celebration of Reading event, contest winners, accompanied by their parents and teachers, will be recognized at a VIP breakfast with guest author Mary Pope Osborne on Tuesday, Nov. 7 at the AT&T Stadium, home of the Dallas Cowboys. Contest winners will receive certificates recognizing their achievements, special prizes, and books signed by Osborne. The students will be Osborne’s guests at the Celebration of Reading Student Breakfast and have the opportunity to visit with the author and share their winning submissions.

Since 2002, the Barbara Bush Foundation and members of the Bush family have joined forces with community leaders, best-selling authors and valued partners to celebrate the power of literacy through the annual Celebration of Reading Dallas/Fort Worth event. The event helps raise funds to support the Foundation’s innovative family literacy programs.

In addition to Osborne, the Celebration of Reading evening program – chaired this year by Millie Cooper and Angela Cooper – will feature Ron Hall, whose best-selling book “Same Kind of Different as Me” will debut Oct. 20 as a major motion picture starring Renée Zellweger, Djimon Hounsou, Jon Voight and Greg Kinnear.

Additional Celebration of Reading authors include Leigh Anne Tuohy and Kristin Hannah. Tuohy, the inspirational matriarch of the family featured in Michael Lewis’ best-selling book and hit movie “The Blind Side,” coauthored the New York Times best-seller “In a Heartbeat: Sharing the Power of Cheerful Giving.” Lawyer turned writer, Hannah is the New York Times best-selling author of more than 20 novels, including her international blockbuster “The Nightingale.” Published in over 39 languages and currently in movie development, “The Nightingale” was awarded the coveted Goodreads and People’s Choice Awards and was voted a best book of the year by Amazon.

Individual tickets to the Celebration of Reading event at the Morton H. Meyerson Symphony Center are available at $250 and include a pre-event reception, an autographed book by a guest author, preferred seating at the Celebration of Reading program, and dinner immediately following.

A limited number of program-only tickets are available for $100 and include the pre-event reception and reserved seating at the Celebration of Reading program.

Funds raised from Celebration of Reading support the programs of the Barbara Bush Foundation for Family Literacy, which currently offers 20 family literacy programs serving more than 700 students and families in the Dallas/Fort Worth area. These programs include Teen Trendsetters, a high-impact program that pairs teen mentors with first- or second-grade students who are, on average, half a year behind in reading.

For more information about the Celebration of Reading, contact Adine Zornow at 214-856-5049 or To reserve individual event tickets, email

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, inspired by her vision of fostering the opportunity for every man, woman and child to secure a better life through literacy. Today, the Foundation is a public charity that remains committed to Mrs. Bush’s vision, working to expand literacy access for the bookends of our education system: early literacy for young children and opportunities for low-literate parents to improve their skills. To learn more, visit or join the conversation on Facebook or Twitter (@BarbaraBushFdn).

Contact: Angela Bell, Gravina, Smith, Matte & Arnold Marketing and PR, 239-275-5758,

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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