Flint author’s work to support early childhood literacy and United Way of Genesee County

FLINT — The United Way launched the third year of A to Z Learn with Me, an early childhood literacy program at Sumathi Mukkamala Children’s Center – Hurley Children’s Center.

Flint native and award-winning children’s author Jon Scieszka, who has sold more than 11 million copies of his books worldwide, is partnering with the United Way of Genesee County to help families get a kick-start on reading. In an effort to ensure every child born in the county has access to books at birth, Scieszka unveiled an original piece – “Welcome to the World Baby!” – written specifically for the A to Z Learn with Me program.

As part of A to Z learn with Me, children born at Genesys Regional Medical Center, Hurley Medical Center, or McLaren Flint will receive a specialized visit from hospital personnel. In addition to the visit, families will receive “Welcome to the World Baby!”.

Scieszka, whose father is a retired Freeman Elementary principal and mother a prenatal nurse who worked at Hurley Medical Center for years, understands the importance of educating families early.

He said he wanted to provide his hometown with an original piece that is fun and real for caregivers to begin laughing, reading and interacting with their newborns.

The book itself is a family affair as Scieszka asked his son-in-law Steven Weinberg, a soon-to-be first-time father, to illustrate the book.

“To have a world-famous author, write an original piece specifically for our literacy project is amazing. We are so grateful for Jon and his dedication to his hometown” said James Gaskin, CEO, United Way of Genesee County. “With his contributions, we are able to provide parents the support they need to encourage healthy child development”. — L.R.

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