Read Ferdinand On 9-20 to Help Jumpstart Low Income Kids!

ferdinand.gifWant to take a moment to stop and smell the flowers with your child? Make it this Thursday and you’ll be a part of a much bigger cause!

The flower-whiffing, cud-chomping pacifist bull in The Story of Ferdinand has been selected by the nonprofit Jumpstart to unite the nation to Read for the Record as the largest shared reading experience ever!

It’s short notice, happening September 20, so clearly I’m missing out on the mainstream press radar. Here’s a Matt Lauer video clip and XM radio blurb promoting the virtual event with celebrity readings from Mandy Moore to Maya Angelou…So, Twitter buffs and social media fans? Let’s show how digital media can mobilize kids even without much time!

“Tweet and poke your pals and profiles” to raise public awareness on disparities in preschool education and promote kindergarten readiness in low income schools by supporting this worthy cause! (already, 1500 events are registered) Fellow Age of Conversation authors? Facebook folks? YPulse crew? You with me?

I’ll post Jumpstart’s mission on my profile at new media hub JacketFlap (for Children’s Book Resources) pronto, and forward the links to my ReaderGirlz friends with mega-teen ties to YALSA and the ALA Yalsa blog. You don’t have to have a kid or be a kid, anyone can participate, with any child…just pick that book, on that day, register to read and do it!

No bull. Simple as that! Here’s how to get even more involved, be a part of the largest shared reading club on record, and fuel a “virtual” book drive by helping kids as young as three close the gap in their learning. Whether you read the book offline or digitally online you can help break the Guinness world record!

How? Just curl up with a child on your lap under a shady tree like ol’ Ferdinand, or get more involved by volunteering to read at a public library, or creating your own impromptu event with a handful of friends.

They even created a FREE bilingual interactive version, so there’s no reason you should have access issues. If your local library isn’t reading aloud, just pop on their nearest computer and register to read, or borrow any computer from a public venue that has one!

Seniors, sitters, neighbors and pals, they’ve also set up a plethora of flyers and turnkey publicity to make it easy to spread the word and find/build an event in your own community…an inspiring way to get a ‘kid fix’ and feel like you’re contributing to the next generation of literacy. Plus there’s free sticker/decal downloads here for participation fun.

You don’t even have to buy the book to help out.

When you REGISTER TO READ and follow through, the nonprofit automatically receives $1 for every registrant up to $100K from sponsor Hanna Anderrson (known for their earth-friendly fabrics & “Hanna Helps” social entrepreneur support)

Of course, if you’d LIKE to buy the book, that helps out even more. Popular retailers like American Eagle are offering custom edition copies of The Story of Ferdinand (by Munro Leaf & illustrated by Robert Lawson) and the “virtual book drive” will handle the donation of extra copies to children in need. (various book drive options here)

Jumpstart is also teaming with national chains to host hands-on reading nationwide, like Hyatt Hotels’ story time with Ferdinand, or the more commercial Toys “R” Us readings slated for 4:00pm on September 20 at every single store across the nation! (our local chain has readings every half hour)

They’re partnering with The Pearson Foundation for global outreach and sponsorship, and the beloved Penguin Young Readers Group for the special edition and FREE Funbrain online interactive.

No time to find an event OR snag a copy of the book? No problem. Like I said, the online interactive version is in English and Spanish and free, equally eligible for the being a part of the record-breaking fun. Once you register to read, they’ll fill you in on how to make it all happen and get you set up with event documentation if you’re hosting the event yourself.

Last year, Jumpstart’s nonprofit Read for the Record campaign set the benchmark with 150,000 people participating across the country…and as you can see by these early childhood education stats, it’s a VERY important cause.

How can you support Jumpstart’s Read for the Record?

By planning a reading event of your own, donating one of the 100,000+ books they’re distributing for preschool outreach in low-income communities, or just spreading the word in your community to register, read, and break the record so the press covers it and boosts awareness to help close the early learning gap from economic inequality!

One third of American preschool children lack language acquisition and literacy skills, so one of the many worthy Jumpstart programs involves pairing college students with low-income kids to work as one-on-one mentors reading books provided by the campaign.

Why The Story of Ferdinand?

Aside from being a children’s classic and cultural treasure, the concept of a peace-loving bull who prefers to smell the flowers instead of being a part of the violence of snorting, fighting peers is engaging and universally powerful. It crosses multiple ages and stages of childhood and beyond with its inspiring core message to be true to yourself and embrace individuality.

Mind you, as an animal loving child, I found the entire notion of bullfighting barbaric to begin with, so found myself rooting for ol’ Ferdinand from the get go before I’d even read a page.

In fact, I’d say the entire premise of the book itself opens possibilities for conversation on your own values, beliefs, how different cultural systems differ and such, reaching far beyond Ferdinand as a role model for authenticity.

To echo Ferdinand’s bold stance, I offer my favorite Shakespeare quote which you’ll find on every bracelet, plaque, magnet and tchotchke surrounding me…“To thine own self be true.”

So have at it folks, on your mark, get set…READ! Let’s break this record and take some time to smell the flowers with children on Thursday.

This is a great cause, theme, message, and digital social media opportunity, so pay it forward fast, by passing this info along…Register now to Read for the Record!



  1. Hey I discovered your site by luck on yahoo while hunting for something completely different but I am very glad that I did, You have just snagged yourself another subscriber. 🙂

Speak Your Mind