Dickie V. at All Children's Hospital: "IT WAS AWESOME, BABY!"
What could possibly top the energy of legendary sportscaster Dick Vitale describing the "diaper dandies" of college basketball's March Madness? Try a room full of youngsters learning that "a" stands for "awesome, baby!"
That was the scene at All Children's Hospital on February 24th as Vitale and a group of young patients read Dickie V's ABCs and 1-2-3s: A Great Start for Young Superstars, the first in a series of children's books written by the high-energy voice of ESPN college basketball.
Merrill Lynch and Bank of America joined Vitale in donating 400 copies of the book to patients at the hospital. Vitale's long-term relationship with All Children's Hospital has benefited the hospital's pediatric cancer research efforts, and earnings from the book will further that cause. The book is available for purchase through his online website, www.dickvitaleonline.com, at www.amazon.com, and in the All Children's Hospital Gift Shop.
As Vitale read to the kids, they were able to activate a special push-button digital recording of Vitale's voice "broadcasting" five different phrases of encouragement, including "You and Me - What a Team," and Vitale's signature catchphrase: "You're Awesome, Baby!"
Vitale, known for his high-energy broadcasts and tireless support of cancer research through the V Foundation, has launched the Dick Vitale Children's Literacy Initiative with the publication of the book by Ascend Books.
The alphabet and counting book features Vitale's high-energy and passion for basketball. For example, "D" is for "Dunk" and "J" is for "Jump." In the counting section of the book, Vitale leads kids in counting colorful basketballs. The book is illustrated with a menagerie of animal characters and a tiny version of Dickie V. The illustrations are by noted artist Craig Lueck.
A resident of Lakewood Ranch, Vitale is the grandfather of five and believes that literacy skills are fundamental to a child's successful development. His literacy initiative has three goals:
To promote children's development through strong reading skills.
To promote more loving interaction between parents and their children through reading, discussion, and learning.
To position today's children to be well-prepared adults in our rapidly changing world.
Future titles in the literacy series will be about living with passion, energy, perseverance, and strong values.