Skip to main content

Barbara Bush Foundation Celebrates The Pearl Literacy Awards

“We share Mrs. Bush’s belief that: ‘The home is the child’s first school’ and ‘the parent is the child’s first teacher,’ and these organizations exemplify the critical and complementary role of communities in stewarding a lifelong dedication for learning and growing,” said Barbara Bush Foundation President and CEO British A. Robinson at The Pearl Literacy Awards Ceremony at The Kennedy Center in Washington, DC. “We are honored to recognize them today and look forward to watching them continue to change lives through literacy for many years to come.”

The Foundation’s marquee event, the National Celebration of Reading, featured a lineup of best-selling and award-winning guest authors, including Jon Meacham, Jean Case, Jesse J. Holland, Eric Motley, Susan Orlean and Delia Owens—with other very special guests. The Foundation’s Celebration of Reading events, held throughout the nation, have historically served to raise awareness of our country’s adult literacy crisis, raise funds in support of the Foundation’s work and celebrate the life-changing power of literacy. Ms. Wallis Annenberg served as Presenting Underwriter of this year’s special National Celebration of Reading, which commemorated the 30th anniversary of the Foundation while continuing those traditions of past events.


“I am so honored to be part of the Barbara Bush Foundation family,” awardee Jesse Holland told Hollywood on the Potomac. “My family has been educators in the deep South going back at least three or four generations. My mother was my seventh grade [teacher], so I really believe in literacy. I come from a family that preaches literacy. So these types of events I am always honored to be asked to be part of because if you can’t read, it’s overwhelming.” “When you read the statistics about how many people are illiterate, how does that happen,” we asked. “If you have mandate mandatory education, just because you’re required to be a school doesn’t mean you’re required to learn. Teachers try their best. Learning isn’t just something that happens. It really does take a village and sometimes teachers are working alone and trying to get literacy to where it should be. As long as we keep trying, we’ll get there.” Holland is the author of: The Invisibles: The Untold Story of African American Slavery Inside The White House.