Olympic gold medalist skater Kristi Yamaguchi stole the show at Greenfield Elementary‘s recent Read-a-Thon kickoff.
Now also the author of two children’s book, Yamaguchi talked with students about her figure-skating past and her reasons for writing the books.
“When people ask how do you go from ice skating to dancing to becoming a children’s author, I tell them I’m inspired to do it for my daughters,” she said, referring to her stint on Dancing with the Stars and her 6- and 8-year-old girls. “Reading is important in our family, and we read at bedtime. I thought it would be fun to read a book Mommy wrote.”
It’s a Big World, Little Pig features a persistent, ice-skating pig named Poppy who travels to Paris to participate in the World Games. Though it may sound like Poppy and Yamaguchi are one and the same, Yamaguchi is quick to point out that is not so. “Poppy is made up,” she said. “I draw from the lessons I learned skating and my own experiences, but she is not me.”
Profits from the sale of both of her books go to her Always Dream Foundation, a non-profit, public charity whose “continuing goal is to find innovative ways to provide funding for a diverse range of programs designed to inspire and embrace the hopes and dreams of children and adolescents.”
Greenfield Elementary students filed out of the auditorium after Yamaguchi’s reading and question-and-answer session abuzz with excitement at having met an Olympic medalist. With visions of an adorable, skate-clad pig in their heads, they begin their own reading adventures. This year’s read-a-thon goal is to raise enough money to ensure a SMARTboard in every Greenfield Elementary classroom.
— Information and photos submitted by Brenda Morreim, Gilbert Public Schools