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Author of “Arthur” visits Milwaukee for United Way’s “Reading Blitz”

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MILWAUKEE (WITI) -- They're the words children started reading decades ago about the life of a third grade aardvark with glasses.

"Anytime we can celebrate children and reading and books is a party I want to be at," said "Arthur" Author and Illustrator Marc Brown.

Brown made a special visit to the United Community Center for United Way's Reading Blitz.

"To generate and increase awareness for the importance of early childhood literacy and really channeling people to different opportunities where they can very easily step up and make a difference in the life of young people," said United Way Marketing and Community Engagement Specialist Karissa Gretebeck.

Brown shared his favorite pastime by reading one of his books to his new little friends.

The inspiration for "Arthur" came from Brown's experiences in grade school, which he turned into a bed time story for his son.

"He said tell me a story about a weird animal. I thought children's story, weird animal, gee we haven't dealt with any aardvarks," said Brown.

During the Reading Blitz, the United Way also traveled around in the Book Bus donating 3,000 books to area schools and nonprofits throughout the community.

"The books we are handing out today with the Book Bus are meant for young people to take home and put in their home collection. We know that in Greater Milwaukee and many other communities throughout the United States there's a large number of children who only have one book," said Gretebeck.

The pages in a book can open a world of opportunities and success for children, just like it's done for Brown.

"Life is short. You have to have a job you love and you have to read good books," said Brown.

There's still an opportunity to help with the Reading Blitz.

United Way is collecting new and gently used books at all Milwaukee Public Library's through Wednesday, March 25th,  which will be donated to area schools and nonprofits.

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