Wednesday, July 15, 2009

On Politics and Baseball and Summer Reading

President Obama Throws--and Talks--Baseball!

Even the United States president needs a day of fun and games. Yesterday President Obama donned casual clothes and enjoyed a day away from the tough topics of universal health care and nuclear proliferation to join throngs of other baseball lovers at the 80th Annual Major League Baseball All-Star Game in St. Louis. Before throwing the first pitch to open the game, the president met with journalist Bob Costas to discuss all things baseball. You can watch the interview on the White House website here.

Use Your Kids' Passions to Target Summer Reading
If you are are a parent or guardian who is finding your best attempts to get your kids reading this summer thwarted, think about your kids' other passions--such as baseball and other summer sports--and the opportunities they might provide to focus the kids' reading choices. Children's book author and illustrator Mary Brigid Barret writes in "Home Run Reading: Baseball and Books for Kids," "The best way to connect kids to reading is to build on their passions and interests. If you have kids who love baseball--or as I do, have kids who like to go to the ballpark to eat hot dogs, ogle the players, eat fried dough, start the wave, eat hot pretzels, cheer, and eat some more--use that interest to get them reading." Read more of Barrett's suggestions, as well as a great reading list geared toward baseball lovers of all ages, here. Why not start by watching the president's interview with your kids? What do your kids think of his favorite team and players? How do they compare to your family's favorites? Have they heard of Willie Mays and Jackie Robinson? Use this as an opportunity to learn more about our country's great athletes--past and present--by visiting your local library!

Connect American History and Baseball
Baseball lovers will also enjoy reading about the long association between baseball and the presidency in Our White House: Looking In, Looking Out in the essay "The First Pitch" by Stephanie True Peters. Our White House is a literature and art anthology created by the National Children’s Book and Literacy Alliance to encourage young people to read more about America’s rich history and culture; to think more about America’s future; to talk more about our nation’s leadership; and to act on their own beliefs and convictions, ensuring this great democratic experiment will survive and thrive. Our White House is available in libraries and bookstores everywhere.

To learn more about what presidents and their families do to relax and have fun together while living in the White House, check out "Stress Relief: Exercise and Relaxation at the White House" on

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