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New U of U Children’s Book Introduces Higher Education to Young Readers

The Adventures of Newton & U

June 9, 2005 — Last night, at a special gala honoring former Utah Governor Olene Walker and her commitment to children’s literacy, the University of Utah College of Education unveiled a new children’s book, The Adventures of Newton & U. The 28-page, soft-cover book introduces readers to higher education and the University of Utah.

The book is dedicated to Walker, who, while governor of the Beehive State, urged adults via public service announcements to read to a child for 20 minutes a day. As Utah’s first woman governor, Walker emphasized education. During her 13 months of service, she was fond of saying, “Students learn to read from kindergarten through third grade. After third grade, they read to learn. We need to ensure each student can read or they will not succeed.”

The Adventures of Newton & U, available for purchase beginning today, was commissioned by the U’s College of Education. David J. Sperry, dean of the college, explains, “Proceeds from the sale of the book will benefit the new Olene Walker Reading and Literacy Legacy Fund, which will provide scholarship opportunities for Utah K-3 teachers to obtain a Level 1 Reading Endorsement, fulfilling one of Walker’s wishes that Utah have more teachers trained as reading specialists.”

Written by local writer Matt George, with illustrations by artist Mike Bohman, the book’s main character-Newton-is introduced to many parts of the University of Utah: Swoop, the U’s red-tailed hawk mascot; athletics; the Utah Museum of Natural History; the residence halls; the University Hospital; and the College of Education.

The book, also written to appeal to adults who are passionate about the U, will be sold at the University Bookstore, at athletic events at Rice-Eccles Stadium and the Jon M. Huntsman Center and online at A Spanish version of the book will be released in the coming year.

As part of outreach efforts by the College of Education, Suzan Young, an advocate for literacy and wife of University of Utah President Michael K. Young, will be helping to promote The Adventures of Newton & U. She will be reading to groups of school children in the community.

University coaches and athletes will also be making appearances in the community to promote literacy and higher education.

In addition to the U’s College of Education, partners for the book include the University Hospitals & Clinics, U Athletics, the Utah Museum of Natural History and the Office of the President.

The College of Education at the University of Utah strives to create a learning environment that fosters discovery and dissemination of knowledge to promote learning, equitable access and enhanced outcomes for all students. Through the integration of outstanding teaching, research and community outreach, the College of Education investigates significant issues impacting education policy and practice while preparing students for leadership and excellence within a diverse and changing educational community.