Pizza Hut(R) BOOK IT! Beginners(R) Kicks off 2008 Reading Program with 'Maisy' Book Series from Candlewick Press

Pizza Hut(R) BOOK IT! Beginners(R) Kicks off 2008 Reading Program with 'Maisy' Book Series from Candlewick Press

DALLAS--(BUSINESS WIRE)--BOOK IT! Beginners® announced today that it is featuring the "Maisy" book series in its 2008 read-aloud program. Created and sponsored by Pizza Hut®, the program encourages teachers to read aloud to students in preschool and pre-kindergarten to develop a lifelong love for reading and books.

The 2008 program launches today and lasts through April 25. Over 36,000 preschools and child-care facilities will participate in the program this year.

"The 'Maisy' books are such a hit with kids, and so we're excited to feature the books in this year's BOOK IT! Beginners Program," said Leslie Brunt, BOOK IT! Beginners program director. "Maisy is such a fun character and young children really identify with her antics and colorful personality. 'Maisy' is a great book series to open the door to reading with kids."

Teachers will receive a free program packet that features "Maisy" theme-related materials for the classroom and for parents to use at home. Beginning March 3, teachers will read to the children for at least 60 minutes a week during the eight-week program. At the end of each four-week period, every child is rewarded with a certificate for a free Personal Pan Pizza® to redeem at participating Pizza Hut locations.

Children participating in the BOOK IT! Beginners Program graduate to the BOOK IT! National Reading Incentive Program for kindergarten through sixth grade students. Nearly one million classrooms nationwide are enrolled in the award-winning BOOK IT! Program. Both programs celebrate and encourage reading through pizza, praise, and recognition.

The "Maisy" books by award-winning author Lucy Cousins are widely popular among children for their childlike simplicity, bold outlines, and crayon-bright colors. The winsome exploits of characters such as Maisy--star of her own animated television program--reflect the familiar adventures that young children have every day.

About Candlewick Press

Candlewick Press, which celebrated its fifteenth birthday in 2007, is America's fastest growing independent publisher for children, thanks to an incredible roster of talent and best-selling series such as the 'Ologies; Robert Sabuda and Matthew Reinhart's wildly successful Encyclopedia Prehistorica pop-up books; the rapidly expanding Judy Moody franchise from author Megan McDonald and illustrator Peter H. Reynolds; the beloved Guess How Much I Love You; Martin Handford's iconic Where's Waldo? books; Lucy Cousins's perennially popular "Maisy" books; and M. T. Anderson's National Book Award winner, The Astonishing Life of Octavian Nothing, Traitor to the Nation, Volume 1: The Pox Party. Candlewick is also home to acclaimed author, Kate DiCamillo, and publishes the 2008 Newbery Medal-winner, Good Masters! Sweet Ladies by Laura Amy Schlitz, illustrated by Robert Byrd, and 2008 Coretta Scott King Author Honor book, Twelve Rounds to Glory by Charles R. Smith Jr., illustrated by Bryan Collier.

About BOOK IT! Beginners

BOOK IT! Beginners is a read-aloud program that builds reading-readiness skills and establishes an at-home reading routine by providing interactive classroom materials to teachers. These materials add an exciting, hands-on activity to read-aloud time. A literacy activity with a strong parent component, BOOK IT! Beginners was established in 1998 and reaches over 1.7 million children. The objective is to develop a lifelong love of reading in children. For more information about BOOK IT! or BOOK IT! Beginners call 1-800-4BOOKIT or visit

About Pizza Hut

As the world's largest pizza restaurant company with almost 6,200 restaurants in the United States and more than 4,000 restaurants in 100 other countries, Pizza Hut, Inc., a subsidiary of Yum! Brands, Inc. (NYSE: YUM) is America's Favorite Pizza. The company's 49-year legacy of leadership and innovation has made it the recognized leader in the $37 billion pizza category. Those hungry for more information can go to the official Pizza Hut Web site at


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