Staff Photo: Brendan Sullivan Georgia's First Lady Sandra Deal hands out a copies of children's book Ladybug Girl and the Bug Squad to kindergarten students at Hopkins Elementary School in Lilburn on Tuesday. First Lady Deal also read the story to the students.
LILBURN -- Five-year-old Jack Caldwell is partial to a good kids book.
Particularly if the literature in question contains explosions, car chases and jets.
The book which he and fellow kindergartners read along to on Tuesday had none of the above, but it was still "a very good adventure."
Even more of an adventure, Caldwell said, was meeting Georgia's First Lady Sandra Deal. She showed up at Hopkins Elementary early Tuesday morning to read "Ladybug Girl and the Bug Squad." Faithful to the story's characters, Deal donned a pair of giant ladybug antenna on her head.
A former teacher, Deal said it was good to be back in the classroom. "I love it, being among children again. I miss it. It's quite a treat for me."
Her visit was a reward to kindergarten students at Hopkins for their participation in the inaugural national Read for My School campaign, which allows readers to designate a school to receive free books. Hopkins students read hundreds of books in five days to earn their copies of "Ladybug Girl and the Bug Squad" to take home and keep.
Ginny Kirkland with the Pearson Foundation said she hoped the kids could enjoy the book during summer vacation. "We encourage them to read books all summer long," Kirkland said.
The Pearson Foundation, a non-profit organization, has paired with the We Give Books ReadMobile tour, a program that aims to help children become lifelong readers.
School Principal Penny Clavijo said she was thankful for Tuesday's visit.
"It was an opportunity for the kids to see and meet someone in a position of importance who can talk to them about reading as a lifelong skill," Clavijo said.
Deal couldn't have said it better.
"It's important to encourage children to read," Deal said. "We feel like it is the foundation of excellence. I try to help promote programs that promote reading. We think it's wonderful these children read so many books. I think it's remarkable and deserves attention. If we encourage children, they're more likely to continue doing good things."
Young Caldwell looks forward to reading and re-reading his copy of "Ladybug Girl and the Bug Squad," even if he finds the book lacking a car chase or two. "I love reading!" he shouted, pumping his fist.