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2010 Press Release

What a Treasure! honored as 2010 selection for PA's One Book, Every Young Child early literacy program

HARRISBURG, PA - What a Treasure!, written by Jane Hillenbrand and illustrated by Will Hillenbrand, has been named the 2010 selection of the fifth annual Pennsylvania One Book, Every Young Child early literacy program.

This simply told story has what it takes to entertain the youngest story-time audience: eye-catching illustrations; a straightforward, good-natured narrative with some well-placed repetition; lots of digging; and a gratifying ending.... The Horn Book

Jane Hillenbrand's debut picture book shines with a feel-good, spare text that goes right to the heart of universal childhood emotions. Will Hillenbrand's mixed-media artwork exudes a lighthearted tone via boldly outlined shapes and sweetly anthropomorphized characters.Publishers Weekly (star review)

The PA One Book program will kick off with a reception at the Pennsylvania State Capitol, April 13, 4-6 p.m. Members of the Pennsylvania Library Association, legislators and other community leaders will join the author and illustrator to promote the development of early literacy skills through interactive experiences with books and stories.

The Capitol launch event is part of Will Hillenbrand's 21 days of visits across the state that start on April 12, 10 a.m., at the Cleve J. Fredricksen Library, 100 N.19th Street, Camp Hill, PA 17011. A full listing of his visits will continually be updated on the website

More than a half million Pennsylvania children ages 3-6 are reached annually through the One Book, Every Young Child program which stresses the importance of reading early and often to young children and how that impacts their future lives.

For the fifth year, Verizon is proudly supporting the Pennsylvania One Book, Every Young Child program with a $40,000 grant as part of its commitment to unlock the promise of literacy and enhance lifelong learning. This grant will provide a copy of What a Treasure! to more than 15,000 Pennsylvania childcare facilities, licensed preschools, Head Start programs and family literacy programs.

"Verizon is proud to once again partner with the Pennsylvania Department of Education and the Office of Commonwealth Libraries in this important program that empowers young children and their families with the skills, passion and enthusiasm to pursue a life of learning," said Gale Y. Given, president of Verizon Pennsylvania.  "Verizon is committed to improve literacy and increase learning across the lifespan & supporting a level of student achievement that will raise the quality of life for individuals."

The One Book, Every Young Child program goes far beyond asking parents and caregivers to read to preschoolers. It emphasizes ways that adults can engage children in activities such as talking about a book's cover and illustrations, discussing the action in the book and favorite parts and making up pretend play games related to the story.

Jane and Will Hillenbrand are excited to be part of the One Book family. Since What a Treasure! was published in 2006, children have been accompanying Mole on his dig as he discovers exciting treasures for both his animal friends and for himself.

"As a child, I spent countless hours reading," said Jane. "And it's my love of reading that led me to a career of teaching young children." With hopes of inspiring a passion for stories, poetry and the power of words, she has opened the doors of literacy for many through the joys of learning to read and write. In turn, the children have opened doors for Jane by helping her to see the extraordinary in the ordinary.

"What a Treasure! was inspired by ordinary objects being extraordinary as seen through the eyes and experiences of our son, Ian, when he was two years old." said Jane. "Ian loved to dig. His prized possession (in addition to books) was a miniature shovel."

And for the engaging illustrations, Will says, "As I begin to draw, I try to keep the child's viewpoint foremost in my mind. I really work in three worlds at once: the world of the imagination, the world of myth, and the physical world; children seem to live comfortably in all three. Successful illustrations link these worlds together and give a visual voice to the story."

It is Will's and Jane's hope that children and adults look closely at the world around them and see the beauty and magic in everything no matter how simple or common, discover the joy of reading and recognize that the greatest treasures, in addition to reading, are the extraordinary gifts of friendship and love.

In its inaugural year, 2006, the One Book, Every Young Child program won a coveted, national John Cotton Dana Library Public Relations Award for its comprehensive approach to early literacy.

"The One Book, Every Young Child program is one of the most cherished programs in the Commonwealth," said Education Secretary, Gerald L. Zahorchak. "Promoting educational activities at a young age and parental involvement is a key ingredient for creating lifetime and successful learners."

"Early learning is the key component to our children's development and long term success," said Public Welfare Acting Secretary Harriet Ditcher. "I applaud this program for encouraging parents to read to their children, which provides a strong and positive influence for children and produces solid parental bonds."

In today's economy, libraries are finding new ways to expand their services beyond the library walls. As a result of their efforts, librarians across the commonwealth report that both circulation and membership applications have increased in their libraries. From presenting preschool literacy programs in local public housing facilities, to taking readers to preschools, kindergartens, community centers and childcare programs to read to the children, librarians are finding ways to reach more people in their communities.

And for families looking for inexpensive activities for their children, the One Book, Every Young Child reading initiative provides that option. There will be library and museum programming for families and activities for parents, early care providers and educators - all to promote the value and benefits of reading early and often to preschoolers and to encourage family bonding through books and reading. The program includes author visits across the state to libraries, children's museums, preschools, Head Start centers and family literacy programs. Many of these ideas can be found on the program's website at

There also will be 65 traveling trunks developed by museum educators to help expand upon the concepts of What a Treasure!. Each trunk is filled with fun book-related puppets, games and manipulatives for young children, as well as a guide for librarians and educators that encourages use of the trunk contents in activities that are aligned with the Pennsylvania Early Learning Standards.

Additionally, about 100 legislators and representatives from the Pennsylvania Departments of Education and Public Welfare will be traveling the state to read to children in various settings.

The Pennsylvania Library Association through its member libraries will support the One Book, Every Young Child reading initiative throughout the year. The Hillenbrands will speak at its Early Learning Forum at the Hilton Harrisburg on April 14, 2010, and assist in recognizing best practice winning libraries across the state.

One Book, Every Young Child is made possible through a collaboration of the Pennsylvania Department of Education, Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare, Children's Museum of Pittsburgh, Please Touch Museum, State Museum of Pennsylvania, Pennsylvania Library Association, Pennsylvania Center for the Book, Pennsylvania Association for the Education of Young Children, The Pennsylvania Child Care Association, PennSERVE, HSLC/Access PA and Verizon. This program was supported in part by the Institute of Museum and Library Services under the provisions of the Library Services and Technology Act as administered by Pennsylvania's Office of Commonwealth Libraries.

Information about One Book, Every Young Child may be obtained by visiting which also includes a schedule of the illustrator's visits around the state.

Copyright © 2019. Pennsylvania One Book: Every Young Child.