Throughout the U.S. and around the world, on October 6, 2011, adults at homes, libraries, schools, community centers, and on-line at wegivebooks.org read the book Llama, Llama, Red Pajama by Anna Dewdney to 2,184,155 children, as part of Jumpstart’s Read for the Record ® 2011 campaign. In partnership with the Pearson Foundation, Jumpstart wants to draw attention to the pre-education achievement gap suffered by poor children in the U.S.
On NBC’s TODAY Show, hosts Matt Lauer, Ann Curry, Al Roker, and Natalie Morales interviewed 2011 Ambassador for Jumpstart’s Read for the Record Ambassador Bridget Moynahan, the model-actress who co-stars on the CBS TV series Blue Bloods, in Rockefeller Plaza. [Locals may remember her as the co-star with Will Smith in I, Robot (2004), a science fiction thriller director Alex Proyas filmed in part in Chicago. It was set in the Chicago of 2035 and borrowed only a few character names and plot elements from Isaac Asimov’s anthology I, Robot.] Her child with former lover, New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, is now four years old, making him part of the literacy campaign’s target age group. The interview with Bridget Moynahanwas the kickoff for the event.
Al Roker, andNatalie Morales interviewed psychologist Dale Atkins, a Jumpstart spokeswoman, and Bill Barke, Chairman of Pearson U.S. Higher Education. [The Pearson Foundation is an American charity founded by Pearson, an English publishing conglomerate.] In the fourth hour of the show, hostess Hoda Kotb and guest Kourtney Kardashian read the book to children in the TV studio.
Following her appearance on the today show, Bridget Moynahan lit the Empire State Building red, signifying Jumpstart signature logo color and Baby Llama’s red pajamas. Jumpstart stated, “In celebration of our 6th Annual Jumpstart’s Read for the Record campaign, Jumpstart is proud to be an ‘Empire State Building Lighting Partner.’ On Thursday, October 6, 2011, the tower of the Empire State Building was lit red, literally shining a light on the importance of early education.”
As part of the campaign, there were readings and pajama parties in preschools throughout New York City including appearances at Bank Street Head Start East, joined by Ronald Richter, Commissioner of the Administration for Children’s Services; Diahann Billings-Burford, New York City’s Chief Service Officer; Deborah Taylor, Director of the New York City Department for Youth and Community Development; and the fashion model Jeniel Williams. Authoress and illustrator Anna Dewdney read to children at various places in the city.
In Atlanta, Stephanie Blank, trustee of the Arthur M. Blank Foundation and the museum’s Imaginators did a dramatic reading of Llama Llama Red Pajama at the Imagine It! The Children’s Museum of Atlanta. All children who attended received a free copy of the book, donated by Georgia Power and United Way of Metropolitan Atlanta.
In Washington, D.C., the U.S. Senate declared national Jumpstart’s Read for the Record Day at the Capitol Visitor Center. The event featured a reading of Llama, Llama, Red Pajama for 80 preschool children from the Sunshine Early Learning Center.
Dr. Jacqueline Jones, Senior Advisor on Early Learning to U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, gave the opening remarks. She was joined by dozens of members of Congress, representatives from Corporation for National and Community Service, PNC Bank, The United Way of the Capital Area, the Office of the State Superintendent (OSSE), District of Columbia City Council members, Jumpstart Corps members and other special guests. Guests read and engaged with the children in creative literacy activities.
In Boston, Jumpstart Boston engaged thousands of children across the city with the help of corporate volunteers from MFS, BNY Mellon, The Boston Bruins Foundation, Staples, Bank of America, Eduventures, the Pearson Foundation, and EMD Serono. The main Boston event took place at the Boston Public Library with host NECN’s Jenny Johnson, and a special guest reader Diane Patrick, wife of Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick (a Chicago native).
In Chicago, Chicago Public Schools (CPS) held Jumpstart’s Read for the Record at Garfield Park YMCA. Co-hosts J.C. Brizard, CEO of CPS, and Bright Horizon’s Region Vice President Judy Oliva read Llama, Llama, Red Pajama. United Way of DuPage/West Cook read to over 100 children at Oak Park and River Forest Day Nursery, Parenthesis, Center for Independence, and Easter Seals DuPage and the Fox Valley Region.
In the San Francisco Bay Area, thousands of Bay Area children, families, teachers and volunteers participated in Jumpstart’s Read for the Record in classrooms, libraries and homes throughout the region from the Civic Center to the Bayview, featuring readings of Llama, Llama, Red Pajama and fun literacy-based activities to over 200 children. They were joined by State Senator Mark Leno and representatives of the San Francisco Fire Department.
In Southern California, Mount St. Mary’s College hosted a Jumpstart’s Read for the Record celebration with over 150 children and fifty adult volunteers, elected officials, and celebrities, along with a live baby llama, for a morning reading and fun activities. Model-actress Joelle Carter; singer Jacqueline Grace, who uses the stage name J Grace; and young actress Madison Pettis participated.