Four Fur Feet makes its debut!

For Carilion Children’s youngest patients, this Thanksgiving came with a special treat – a newly republished Margaret Wise Brown book, and a pair of accomplished leaders (and moms) to read it to them.

Hollins President Pareena Lawrence and Carilion Clinic President and CEO Nancy Howell Agee spent their Thanksgiving morning reading to patients at Carilion Children’s. In addition to reading Brown’s perennial favorites Goodnight Moon and The Runaway Bunny, the two leaders introduced the children to Four Fur Feet.

“We wanted to make this Thanksgiving just a little brighter for our patients and their families,” said Agee. “It’s difficult being in a hospital, and especially during a holiday. Brown’s books have been a comfort to children for many decades and our patients were pretty excited to hear Four Fur Feet.”

Thanks to a partnership between Carilion and the Roanoke-based non-profit Turn The Page, and another partnership between Turn The Page and Hollins, every child born at Carilion during the year will receive the book. Hollins, which is Brown’s alma mater, is the repository for hundreds of her manuscripts, and made the Four Fur Feet manuscript available to be published.

“We know that children who are read to early in life become better readers – better learners – as they grow,” said Lawrence. “I’m thrilled that our partners at Turn The Page have made it their mission to get books into the hands of the 3,000 babies born at Carilion every year.”

Turn The Page’s mission is to increase awareness of the benefits of reading with children from birth and to provide every child born in the Roanoke Valley with his or her own home library of books during the first three years of life.

“Reading aloud is a simple way for parents to help their children grow,” said Lauren Ellerman, founder and board member of Turn The Page. “The partnerships with Carilion and Hollins are helping us get great books like Brown’s into the hands of families in the region.”

Lawrence, Agee, and Turn The Page volunteers finished out the morning by visiting several units of the hospital, including labor and delivery, mother-baby, and southwest Virginia’s only Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, and handing out the book to interested families.