Jayhawks in the Community: Garrett, Tharpe Reveal Tournament of Kids' Books Winner

April 14, 2013

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LAWRENCE, Kan. – All the elements that make March Madness great – talented student-athletes, invested fans, and a suspenseful outcome, among others – were in play Sunday night as Naadir Tharpe and Christian Garrett helped the Lawrence Public Library reveal the winner of its Tournament of Kids’ Books.

A crowd of nearly 100 children and their families cheered in the events room as Tharpe unwrapped this year’s winner, part of a now annual celebration of reading with a hint of basketball tournament drama. In this year’s 16-book bracket, “Cabinet of Wonders” defeated “Diary of a Wimpy Kid – Cabin Fever” by a single vote.

“For the entire month of March, to piggyback off the March Madness season and KU Basketball, the library hosts a Tournament of Kids’ Books where the kids vote for their favorite books each week,” Rebecca Dunn, Lawrence Public Library youth services director, said. “To get (kids) even more excited about the library and reading, what better way than having their heroes come to the library and declare the winner for their program and read a book that they’re familiar with? Getting the players here is a fantastic experience all around for the kids.”

The books were the focus Sunday night but Garrett and Tharpe, members of Kansas basketball’s Final Four squad in 2012 and Sweet 16 team this season, were greeted with high fives as they entered the room after being announced by library director Brad Allen and had everyone’s attention throughout the announcement, a raffle of items including an autographed team basketball, and a reading session.

Tharpe read “Goodnight Moon” and Garrett read “Where the Wild Things Are” before the event closed with a group photo, modified Rock Chalk Chant and autographs.

“It was definitely fun,” Tharpe said. “Anytime something has to do with kids I make an effort to make sure that I can attend and help out in any type of way.”

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