Barbara Bush Literacy Foundation’s 28th Annual Celebration Of Reading

By Jennifer Roosth      Photography by Michele Watson/Catchlight Group

THE SETTING: More than 700 guests gathered at The Post Oak Hotel in Uptown Houston to toast the 28th annual A Celebration of Reading. This year’s theme was Life. Liberty. Literacy. in honor of the late First Lady Barbara Bush’s belief that literacy is a foundation to reaching one’s fullest potential in life and realizing the American Dream. In keeping with the Americana theme, the reception areas and ballroom were donned with stunning red, white and blue décor, while the guests wore patriotic attire, which created a festive all-American event.

THE STYLE: This year’s exceptional lineup of bestselling authors included Alafair Burke, sisters Jenna Bush Hager and Barbara Pierce Bush, Brad Meltzer, and Dr. Rick Rigsby. Foundation chairs Maria and Neil Bush welcomed guests and recognized the late First Lady who personally created A Celebration of Reading to raise awareness and funds to advance her cause of literacy.

“Mom always said that literacy is at the core for one to achieve God’s given potential,” Neil Bush noted. Sisters Jenna Bush Hager and Barbara Pierce Bush spoke of their personal relationship, and of family and how their “Ganny,” the late First Lady Barbara Bush, instilled a lifelong love of literacy. They also shared how their most recent children’s book was inspired by their mother, former First Lady Laura Bush, who was an only child, yet found women to become her “sisters” throughout life.

THE PURPOSE: Marking another successful year, the event raised more than $1.8 million to help support the Foundation’s local and national literacy education causes, including $125,000 to launch a new initiative, Success Through Adult Reading (STAR) that provides scholarships for adult learners in partnership with five community-based organizations.