First Lady Jane Beshear's Communications Office
First Lady Jane Beshear announces Reading List for the Kentucky Literacy Celebration

Press Release Date:  Monday, March 05, 2012  
Revision Date:  Monday, March 05, 2012 
Contact Information:  Parry Barrows

Kentucky Literacy CelebrationFRANKFORT, Ky. – As a part of her ongoing reading recommendations initiative, First Lady Jane Beshear today announced a special reading list for the 2nd Annual Kentucky Literacy Celebration, March 5 – 9.   The celebration will involve several statewide events focused on improving literacy levels for all Kentuckians.

“It is never too late to learn to read,” Mrs. Beshear said.  “Whether you are two or eighty-two, reading will not only help you learn, but it will open your mind to depths that you never knew existed.  From a simple country farm to the pits of middle earth, these selections are intended take readers on both familiar and unfamiliar journeys to learn life lessons and discover new ways of viewing the world.”

2012 Literacy Week Reading Recommendations

  1. Runaway Bunny by Margaret Wise Brown (Toddler) – “From the same author of ‘Goodnight Moon’, this book serves as sweet tale to lull young readers to sleep.  It depicts a small rabbit who wishes to run away from his mother, but no matter what form he takes, the adoring mother always finds a way to reassure and retrieve him.”
  2. Oh the Places You’ll Go by Dr. Seuss (All ages) – “Perhaps one of the most familiar Dr. Seuss stories, this book follows the journey of a young boy through colorful, geometric landscapes and is a worthwhile read for people of any age.  The rhythmic and inspirational story is relevant for preschoolers, college graduates or anyone who sets off on a new adventure in life.”
  3. Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe (Ages 16 & up) – “The title of this exemplary modern African novel is derived from William Butler Yeats’ poem ‘The Second Coming’.  It follows the life of Okonkwo, his family and his tribe as they encounter British colonialism and Christian missionaries in the late nineteenth century.  This is a fascinating read for teens that reflects the universal struggle of tradition versus change.”
  4. Charlotte’s Webb by E.B. White (Ages 8 & up) -- “This classic children’s novel centers around an unlikely friendship between an innocent pig named Wilbur and an intelligent barn spider named Charlotte.  Charlotte formulates a plan to save Wilbur from being butchered for Christmas dinner and helps turn him into a county-wide famous swine.  Children will learn valuable lessons of friendship and grief in this exceptional story.”
  5. A Sick Day for Amos McGee by Philip C. Stead (Ages 2-6) – “Elderly zookeeper Amos McGee cherishes the many animals he daily takes care of at the zoo.  When he fails to show up one morning, the animals travel to Amos’ house to keep him company and help take care of him for a change as he recovers from a bad cold.  This is another quality example of friendship and loyalty for young readers.” 
  6. The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry (Ages 10 and up) “First published in France in 1943, this inventive fable is told by a pilot who crashes in the Sahara desert and is then befriended by a little prince.  The prince’s home is on an asteroid and he describes his many journeys from planet to planet as a result of his leaving his asteroid because of a love gone awry.   The story ends in a bit of mystery, leaving the pilot and the reader to wonder if the prince ever makes it back to his asteroid and his love.”
  7. Matilda By Ronald Dahl (Ages 8 & up) – “Matilda is a highly extraordinary young girl who is trapped in a house with ordinary and rather unpleasant parents and stuck in a school with a cruel headmistress.  After discovering special powers, Matilda decides to prank her parents and headmistress for their reprehensible actions in order to teach them a lesson.  The significance and value of education, hard work and fairness prevail in this novel. 
  8. Chrysanthemum by Kevin Henkes (Ages 4 -8) – “Young, soft-hearted Chrysanthemum is proud of her melodious name until she enters kindergarten and meets other students with simple, shorter monikers.  The other students mock Chrysanthemum for her unusual name until they learn their very popular musical teacher has a distinctive name of her own and that they shouldn’t judge a book by its cover.  The story addresses the relevant topic of bullying for young audiences.”
  9. The Hobbit by J. R. R. Tolkien (Ages 10 & up) Considered one of the greatest fantasy novels of all time, this story revolves around Bilbo Baggins, a hobbit with big dreams.  When legendary wizard Gandalf shows up at Bilbo’s door, the tiny hobbit can’t resist embarking on the journey of his lifetime.  He goes on to encounter an array of mystical creatures until his final battle with the dragon Smaug. 
  10. Frog and Toad Are Friends By Arnold Lobel (Ages 4 & up) “One in a series about the two best friends, this book is divided in to five shorter stories that chronicle the adventures of the endearing pair.  From taking a swim to searching for a button to writing a letter, the tales show how frog and toad work together to help each other out.  It serves as a great example to young readers of what friendship truly is.”

Mrs. Beshear will be traveling across the state during Kentucky Literacy Celebration Week to visit a number of schools, adult education centers, and libraries to promote reading education and learn about community literacy programs. Cities she will be visiting include Lexington, Nicholasville, Murray, Somerset, Florence and London.  To view her complete schedule, please visit

To learn more about the Kentucky Literacy Celebration and all events, please visit