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Wish You Well cover NEWS
Wish You Well, by David Baldacci is unveiled as the book for this first annual Reading Across Rhode Island project.
Unveiling the bookA coalition of Librarians, educators and book lovers from across Rhode Island today called on all Rhode Islanders to join in reading the book "Wish You Well" to kick off the new Reading Across Rhode Island program aimed at bringing the entire state together in a shared experience that promotes literacy.

Reading Across Rhode Island, which is spearheaded by the Providence Public Library, began in the aftermath of September 11th with the goal of uniting citizens in a positive community experience that promotes literacy. The group has been meeting for more than a year. The search for a good story with a universal theme and hopeful message appealing to a range of readers led the group to choose "Wish You Well" by popular author David Baldacci. The book is available in many languages as well as audio format and large-print editions, allowing for full participation by all Rhode Islanders.

Honorary Co-Chairs of the Reading Across Rhode Island initiative, Lt. Gov. Charles J. Fogarty Chairman of RI READS and Barbara Morse, of NBC10, extended an invitation to everyone in Rhode Island, from middle school age through senior citizens, to participate.

"The future of this state depends on a well-trained workforce and that starts with good literacy skills. This program sends a clear message that literacy is a number one priority for this state and demonstrates to our children just how much fun reading can be," Fogarty said. "I encourage everyone to take part in this wonderful, innovative experience and thank the Providence Public Library and everyone who has been involved for putting this together."NI-RO-PE

Who: A collaborative of librarians, educators, and book-lovers from all over the state have been meeting to plan and implement this project spearheaded by the Providence Public Library and Chaired by: Lieutenant Governor Charles J. Fogarty.

Set in the 1940s in the southwest Virginia mountains, "Wish You Well" is a compelling and touching novel of the human spirit. The protagonist of "Wish You Well" is Louisa Mae Cardinal, a 12-year-old girl living with her family in New York City. Louisa idolizes her father and is in love with the art of storytelling. Then, in a single, terrifying moment, Lou's life is changed forever, and she and her brother Oz find themselves on a train rolling away from New York and down into the mountains of Virginia. There, Lou's mother will begin a long, slow struggle between life and death. And there, Lou and Oz will meet their remarkable great-grandmother Louisa, Lou's namesake.

The kickoff for Reading Across Rhode Island will be in January with a half-day conference for teachers, librarians and book discussion leaders. The goal of the conference will be to help discussion leaders understand the themes and topics of the novel and also bring together resources and related materials which will extend and enrich discussions. Author, David Baldacci, will be the featured speaker at the event.

A variety of public events are planned for participants over the course of the project from January through May. The author has agreed to several personal appearances at schools, libraries and book stores throughout the state, including Reading Across Rhode Island Day at McCoy Stadium and an Tracey Kennedy, Verizonappearance at Barnes & Noble in Warwick.

In addition to the Providence Public Library and David Baldacci Enterprises, sponsors currently include publisher Time-Warner, Barnes and Noble BookSellers, the Pawtucket Red Sox, Cardi’s Furniture and the i.d. group responsible for the Reading Across Rhode Island logo. The group is also looking for organizations to sponsor public events, pay for a classroom set of books and/or to help with publicity. Rhode Islanders interested in participating or making a donation may contact the project coordinator Louise Moulton at Providence Public Library at (401) 455-8134.

Photos courtesy of the RI Office of Library and Information Services

Criteria for Nominating A Book for 2004