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Statement By the First Lady During a Visit to the Charles Dickens House and Museum

June 16, 2008

10:08 A.M. (Local)

MRS. BUSH: One of the reasons I really wanted to come to the Charles Dickens house is because I think it’s so important for us as English-speaking people to be aware of what our literature is, and certainly Charles Dickens is very well known and very popular and studied in the United States.

“A Tale of Two Cities” is one of the books that high school students in the United States read and study. And then obviously “A Christmas Carol” is one of the favorites of all Americans, and many American families read “A Christmas Carol” together at Christmastime. And then Ford Theatre, the famous theater where Lincoln loved to go and where he was assassinated, produces “A Christmas Carol” every year, and many, many families in Washington, they’ve got a tradition to go there. We did with our girls when they were little and we lived in Washington back in the ’80s.

And then this year, because Ford Theatre is closed for renovation and to add a very nice visitors center next door, they came and produced a part of the play at the White House for our Christmas party that we had for our — the children’s Christmas party that the President has traditionally every year at the White House.

So I think it’s really important for all of us to continue to read literature. There are a lot of studies now that show a lot of Americans are what is called alliterate — they can read but they don’t. They work on a computer or they watch television. And it will be a huge loss for all of us if we don’t read our literature, because that’s how our ideas and our values are transmitted from generation to generation.

So I especially wanted to pay my respects to the work of Charles Dickens by visiting here.

END 10:10 A.M. (Local)




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