Leading a life of service for more than three decades, Barbara Bush will forever be our inspiration for helping people reach their fullest potential in life through the power of literacy. Barbara Bush was passionate in her belief that everyone has the right to read: “Most of our nation’s problems would be solved if every man, woman and child could read, write, and comprehend.”
Mrs. Bush was the wife of the 41st president of the United States, George H. W. Bush, and mother of the 42nd president of the United States, George W. Bush. Mrs. Bush remains only the second woman in U.S. history to be both wife and mother of a U.S. president. Recognized fondly as the “First Lady of Literacy,” she championed the literacy cause while in the White House and played an integral role in advocating for the passage of the National Literacy Act of 1991.
Dedicated to breaking the intergenerational cycle of low literacy in America, Mrs. Bush supported programs that enable parents and their children to learn together. In 1989, she founded the Barbara Bush Foundation for Family Literacy, which has awarded more than $50 million to create and expand programming across the country.
Mrs. Bush authored two children's books, C. Fred's Story and the best-selling Millie's Book, both of which benefited literacy through proceeds from sales. She also wrote the best-selling Barbara Bush: A Memoir and Reflections: Life After the White House. In addition to award-winning books, Mrs. Bush has been widely recognized for her legacy of service and unwavering support for the literacy cause, as well as her impact on countless lives touched through her efforts.
In 2013, her son, Neil, and his wife, Maria, formed the Barbara Bush Houston Literacy Foundation, a wholly separate nonprofit from the national Barbara Bush Foundation for Family Literacy to advance the literacy cause in the Bush’s hometown. The Foundation’s mission is rooted in her vision — “If you help a person to read, then their opportunities in life will be endless.” — and dedication to honoring her literacy legacy.