Dallas Children's Theater Blog

Astonishing Kids And Families With The Fun of Broadway-Like Plays and A Lot More!

Literacy Takes Center Stage at DCT

Like Former First Lady Barbara Bush, we at Dallas Children’s Theater (DCT) have a passion for literacy. After all, our mission is to bring books from the page to the stage! We are proud of the very unique partnership that exists between DCT and the Barbara Bush Foundation for Family Literacy. Each year, school children receive a chance to participate in an essay contest inspired by a DCT show. This year’s school was J. Erik Jonsson Community School; and the show…Pinkalicious The Musical. Here’s how it worked:

Students in grades 3, 4 and 5 read the book Pinkalicious and were challenged with a question from Mrs. Bush: “Before Pinkalicious turned pink from eating too many pink cupcakes, she never thought there would be consequences for too much of a good thing. Think about a time when you did not make mindful choices. What did you do? What consequences did you face? Write a short story about the experience.”

After submitting their stories, the students then came to DCT to see the show and experience first hand how DCT brings literature to life. For some of these students, it was the first time they’ve ever seen a play. Their excitement is palpable! And when they’ve studied the book in advance, they’re even more elated to see the characters they know walking and talking right before their eyes. 

Best of all, we know this experience is a catalyst for opening up their own creativity. When we see children take the leap from the classroom, to a theatrical event, to believing in the creative power of their own mind, we are proud to have had such an important role in their discovering that education leads to imagination and it is FUN! That’s a lesson they’ll never forget. Books and theater are indeed powerful tools for showing young people how they can achieve better lives.

After the show, Barbara Bush’s grandson, George P. Bush and his wife Amanda, came up to the stage to announce the winners chosen by Mrs. Bush and present them with the Barbara Bush Magic of Reading Award. All in all, it was a great celebration of reading, writing, live theater and accomplishment!

Mrs. Bush said, “I love reading all the wonderful essays that the children submit!” We can see why. Take a minute of your day to read these smart and delightfully funny winning entries, complete with adorable illustrations!

  • 3rd Grade – Leo Ontiveros and his lesson to Listen to Your Mom
  • 4th Grade – Thomas Orta and his story My Goofy Hair Do
  • 5th Grade – Priscilla Cabrera and her account of The Time I Fainted

DCT’s unique partnership with the Barbara Bush Foundation for Family Literacy and West Dallas Community School

Students from West Dallas Community School were treated to an extra special field trip experience at Dallas Children’s Theater in October 2011.
After watching the Dallas Children’s Theater stage adaptation of Alexander & the Terrible, Horrible, No Good Very Bad Day, based on the popular children’s book that the students read in class, the group stayed in their front row seats for an encore presentation.

Amanda and George P. Bush, nephew of former president George W. Bush, thanked the students in person for their participation in an essay writing contest in which they were challenged to re-tell to Alexander about their no good, very bad day.

The winners of the contest had been hand selected by former first lady Barbara Bush, who greeted the students in a pre-recorded message. “I have read these wonderful essays, and I must say, you are a very talented and imaginative group of students,” Mrs. Bush applauded. “I want to thank the Dallas Children’s Theater and West Dallas Community School for joining me in this special project that helped promote reading, my favorite thing in the world.

Unbeknownst to the contest winners, their proud parents snuck into the theater before the show and then congratulated their excited children after receiving their recognition.