‘Duck For President’ rallies kids at The Brooklyn Hospital Center
Project Sunshine Brings Children’s Author Doreen Cronin to Read from Classic
Project Sunshine volunteers had a very special treat in store for the kids at The Children’s Health Center at The Brooklyn Hospital Center (TBHC) on Wednesday. Noted children’s writer Doreen Cronin, author of “Click, Clack, Moo: Cows That Type,” “Diary of a Spider” and the “J. J. Tully Mysteries” brought her bestseller “Duck For President” to the outpatient center for a reading and discussion.
Sally Cook, special advisor for Project Sunshine Book Buddies club, was on hand to set up copies of the children’s classic, which the author would later sign for every boy and girl in attendance. “We’re now in 175 cities across the United Nations,” Cook explained, adding, “Canada, and now we’re in China and Israel.”
Project Sunshine brings volunteers into children’s hospitals to “normalize the experience” for kids undergoing long-term in and out patient treatments for a range of illnesses, Cook explained. In addition to the Book Buddies Club, Project Sunshine also provides respite care for caregivers, meal services, arts and crafts lessons and even “star for a day,” which, according to the organization’s website, focuses on the needs of a particular child as he or she prepares to undergo an especially intensive medical or surgical intervention.
A dozen or so kids were on hand for the reading. Some had already taken copies of “Duck For President” off the table and read quietly to themselves. One 9-year-old girl read aloud to a much younger girl. Asked if he followed the current election, a little boy suggested “Pablo” from the “Backyardigans” as the best candidate, while close by, a slightly older girl proclaimed Hillary as her choice for the White House.
Once Doreen Cronin arrived, the kids quickly formed a semi-circle facing the author. Even the preschoolers who, moments earlier, had been chasing each other across the play mat, settled down.
“Duck For President” tells the story of a barnyard fowl who seeks office to avoid his daily chores, beats the farmer in a popular vote and continues to rise politically. The story’s chocked through with satirical allusions to actual political events, some dating back to the 1960s, and well beyond anything the kids might have known about. That didn’t matter. Once Cronin started reading, Duck and his campaign had their full attention.
After the reading, Cronin laughed when asked if the choice of “Duck For President” intended to focus the kids on current events or distract them from some of the presidential election’s more tawdry details. “You can bring them closer, or you can shield them … It depends on your point of view,” she said.
Each of the kids received his or her own signed copy of the book. Timothy Rush scored an extra copy to bring home for his daughter Madison’s sibling. “This is good for the kids. They really get something from it,” said Judithe Olojede, who was on hand with her son.
As the Project Sunshine team gathered the remaining copies of “Duck For President” to take upstairs for a reading to some of the kids who were in-patient, one girl told Project Manager Cook, “I can’t wait to tell my friends that I have a book signed the by the author!”
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