Wesley, Withey Read to Kids at Lawrence Public Library

April 17, 2012

LAWRENCE, Kan. — University of Kansas basketball players Justin Wesley and Jeff Withey spent part of their weekend (Saturday, April 14) reading to some wide-eyed kids at the Lawrence Public Library.

The event celebrated the “championship round” of the library’s inaugural Tournament of Kids’ Books. Throughout March, the library asked children from the Lawrence community to vote for their favorite books bracket-style, from the Sweet 16 all the way to the championship round.

Wesley and Withey each read a children’s book to a crowd of nearly 100 children and family members. They then helped library officials announce the title of the book the kids’ votes had declared the winner: Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by J.K. Rowling.6165339.jpeg

“The purpose of the event is to get the children of a college basketball town excited about the tournament season and excited about reading,” said Rebecca Dunn, a former KU swimmer who organizes Youth Services at the Lawrence Public Library. “These basketball players are their heroes, and the impact of having them appear at the city’s public library and read a story to them is undoubtedly a transformative experience in the name of reading.”

Kansas Athletics’ Student-Athlete Advisory Committee arranged the players’ appearance as part of its community-involvement initiative.

“It was worth it just to see the kids’ interest in books,” Wesley said. “I hope our involvement makes them even more interested in learning through reading.”