JennaBushJenna Bush Hager, daughter of the 43rd President of the United States George W. Bush, gives new meaning to the phrase…working mom. Bush is a former teacher, author, and contributing correspondent for the NBC’s TODAY SHOW, where she has been since 2009. However, confesses her two daughters, as well as, all children are her most important audience. “I believe reading to and with children constantly,” Hager said. “I desire for my daughters to have the same love of reading I was raised to have.”

Her latest children’s book, Our Great Big Backyard, is another collaboration with her mother, First Lady Laura Bush, and was an idea which began as a Today Show assignment.   “This year is the 100th anniversary of national parks,” Hager said. “They asked me to cover that event, and I began to think it would be great to do a children’s book which commemorated our nation’s parks.”

But, the mission for this book went even deeper than the national event. “I see technology keeping our children inside more and more,” she said. “Don’t get me wrong, technology is a good thing; however, it must be balanced, and I see this diminishing family time more and more.” So, she desired to write a book which inspired children to put down the tablet and go outside.

As a child, Hager remembers laying on a blanket in the summer and reading with her mother; walking across an East Texas landscape holding her dad’s hand; walking around lakes; or laying out and gazing at the vast sky full of stars in Midland, Texas. These are memories Hager desires for her own daughters.

She confesses she is now a homesick Texan, and loves to visit friends in San Antonio. “San Antonio is a beautiful part of our nation’s history, and I grew to love it when I attended the University of Texas in Austin,” she said. “San Antonio also has the best Mexican food anywhere.” She always stays with close friends when in town. Hager enjoyed autographing books and spending time with local families on June 14 at Kiddie Park on Broadway.

She also loves working with her mother as co-authors of children’s books. “She is a tenacious editor,” Hager said. “But we have so much fun working together and so much in common.” Our Great Big Backyard is a Harper Collins publication and recommended for children ages 4-8 years of age.

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By Pamela Lutrell