Authors have a special place in my capacitor. After all, they’re the ones who turn reading into a beloved activity for children — and nothing’s more important in my book.

The imagination, dedication, and ability it takes to weave words into stories is an art form I’ve admired ever since I was a young bot.

This is why I’m thrilled to announce that we’ve partnered with two excellent local authors to bring an interactive book tour to 21 schools this year. (That’s right — 21 schools!)

Rita Goldner, author of “ORANGUTAN: A Day In The Rainforest Canopy” and Karen Márquez Morales, author of “The Krayon Kids,” will be joining us at 21 RBBB sites for readings, activities, and a whole lot of fun throughout 2017.

An Excellent Partnership

You know what’s so great about this partnership? That two local writers want to help us solve Arizona’s literacy crisis and that we get to help support their work at the same time.

It’s a match made in heaven!

Our curriculum was designed to not only help participants read better, but to increase comprehension. But we can’t do either without excellent authors and excellent books.

Events like the RBBB book tour show our participants that reading is an adventure — and it’s one they’ll want to take part in again and again.

A lifelong love of reading may not always be instilled at a young age, but we’re working to change that, book by book.

Readings With Rita

When is the last time you drew an orangutan? I’m guessing it’s been far too long.

But Read Better Be Better participants get to do just that when Rita visits the classroom on the RBBB book tour.

As you can tell, these aren’t your average book readings.

Rita captivates the kids by starting off with an inspiring talk on how she achieved her dream of being a writer.

She then shares interesting facts about orangutans and shows the kids how to draw one too. (The stuffed orangutan she brings along doesn’t hurt either.)

But this isn’t Rita’s first book tour with us. In fact, her book has been in our curriculum since February and the kids have been going ape for it ever since. (Contrary to popular belief, robots do enjoy a good pun now and then.)

Here’s a summary of Rita’s educational and ape-solutely awesome book:

“When a young orangutan wakes in his nest of leaves, his day in the rainforest begins. He swings through the canopy searching for food, visits the river below, and encounters other Borneo wildlife — some of which create great danger. At day’s end, the young orangutan settles into a new nest of leaves with his mother, ready for another adventure tomorrow.”

Readings with Rita are definitely a highlight for our participants… but not just the third-graders. (Don’t tell anyone, but the sixth-graders love it too!)

Check out Rita’s book here.

Kids, Krayons, and Karen

This year, we’re delighted to have Karen Márquez Morales on board to do readings of her book, “The Krayon Kids” along with Rita.

Karen is an Arizona native with a B.A. and M.A. in Elementary Education and an A.A. in Journalism. She was a bilingual second-grade teacher for 30 years in Avondale, Arizona (how excellent is that?!) and is now retired and teaches reading intervention.

Here’s a summary of her imaginative book:

“Follow the Krayon Kids as they take you on a colorful journey of how they learn to work together despite their differences while living in their box.”

Check out Karen’s book here.

The Read Better Be Better Book Tour 2017

I don’t know who is more excited about the book tour — the children… or me.

But having two incredibly talented authors visit 21 school sites is something that would make anyone’s graphical user interface light up with joy.

It’s really special to have these two awesome authors share their works and their love of reading with our program participants.

A big ‘thank you’ is going out to Rita and Karen for making The Read Better Be Better 2017 book tour possible.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I have an orangutan to draw.

Dr. Dave signing off!