Iowa’s First Lady is inviting students in sixth, seventh and eighth grades to join her on-line book club this summer. “Every summer when I was growing up I looked forward to summer vacation because it was an opportunity for me to spend more time reading for fun,” First Lady Christie Vilsack says. “Reading is my very favorite thing in the world to do.” She has picked four books for the month of June, and middle-school students can go on-line to the First Lady’s website — www.christievilsack.org — and post their comments after reading the books. All the books are about kids, and all are works of fiction. “I chose…fiction because I think summer is about reading for fun,” she says. Mrs. Vilsack visited with students at Hiatt Middle School in Des Moines this (Thursday) morning. “I hope all of you at some time this summer will decide to go on-line and check out the books that we’ve chosen for June, July and August and maybe read one of them and go on-line and have a conversation with some other students around the state about my on-line bookclub,” she said. The www.christievilsack.org website went up this week and about one-hundred Iowa students have already posted their comments on-line. Some of the suggested books are “Flipped” and “The Tale of Despereaux.” Mrs. Vilsack plans to take that last book on vacation. “I’m going to read it out loud to my husband because I think he’s going to really going to like it. Despereaux is about a mouse…who falls in love with a girl,” she said. “It’s about what it means to be a hero.”Another book is titled “Al Capone Does My Shirts” about the gangster’s time in prison. The First Lady’s aunt used to work in a roadhouse in Chicago where Al Capone and his gang used to hang out in the 1930s. “She would tell me stories about bullet holes in the walls,” Vilsack said. The book tells the story of the daughter of a prison guard who sneaks laundry into the prison, getting money from people who wanted the notoriety of having the gangster wash their clothes.
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