HU donates copies of former First Lady Laura Bush’s children’s book to local schools and libraries to commemorate visit to Searcy

April 13, 2018 | ASI |

Harding University President Bruce McLarty joined students at Searcy Head Start Center on Friday, April 13 for a reading of Our Great Big Backyard — a children’s book written by former First Lady Laura Bush and her daughter Jenna Bush Hager. The University donated copies of the book to libraries and elementary schools in White County in recognition and appreciation of the work of Bush in advocating the importance of literacy and education in advancing opportunity for America’s young people and to foster healthy families and communities.

The books are presented in honor of Bush’s visit to Searcy as a speaker at the University’s American Studies Institute Distinguished Lecture Series on Monday, April 16.

“Mrs. Bush’s visit to Harding University on Monday night provides us with a perfect opportunity to thank her for her service as our First Lady and to celebrate causes dear to both her heart and ours: local elementary schools, public libraries, teachers, reading and literacy programs,” McLarty said.

Our Great Big Backyard is a picture story about a girl named Jane whose family is going on a road trip to national parks around the country. The stunning views open up her imagination as she and her brother see everything nature has to offer. And the more Jane discovers, the more she realizes how much there is to love about the outdoors — whether she’s in a national park across the country or right in her own backyard.

The former First Lady will be the fourth and final presenter of the American Studies Institute 2017-18 Distinguished Lecture Series. The event will be held at 7:30 p.m. in the Benson Auditorium.

Admission to ASI lectures is free, and all events are open to the public. Tickets are required and can be reserved at or by calling 501-279-4497. For more information, visit For other Harding events and free and low cost services available to the public, visit

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