George the Giraffe is making his way from Valley Children's Hospital to bookstores across central California.
The mascot is the main character in two children's books published by the hospital. Titled A Home for George and Out & About with George in Kern County, the books are illustrated and written by moms in the Central Valley area with connections to the hospital.
“Seeing children's faces light up as they read these books is everything. To be able to highlight Valley Children's, through the eyes of George, is incredible. I'm so honored to be part of this and to bring George to life in a whole new way for families,” illustrator Mykel Newton Suntrapak said.
Valley Children's literacy program distributes free copies of the books at the hospital in Madera and other facilities. They share more books for a range of reading levels with children in areas with low literacy rates. All proceeds go to the hospital.
“Valley Children's invitation to write books about George has helped me intertwine my writing and my goal of improving early literacy,” author Joan Schoettler said.
In George's next book he'll be “out & about” in Stanislaus County, just in time for the February opening of a Valley Children's outpatient facility in the area. In addition to the Valley Children's gift shop, the books will soon be sold at local bookstores.
“I am thrilled to be a part of this wonderful project bringing George to the children of the Central Valley through books. Our family is thankful for Valley Children's Hospital and the remarkable staff who cared for our daughter. She was born prematurely, with a cleft palate and severe respiratory problems,” author Claire Noland said.