For the Love of Reading
These days, there are all sorts of high-tech ways to get kids interested in reading. Apps and educational video games abound.
None of them brings a smile to a child's face like Daisy the Famous Pot Belly Pig.
Weighing in at a svelte 84 pounds, the pampered porcine pet travels the country with her owners, Paul "Farmer Minor" and his wife, Victoria, and two precocious pugs named Dixie Cup and Lillie Pug, to share the joy of reading with young children. They'll ham it up at several libraries in the Hillsborough County Public Library Cooperative in February.
The "Pig Out on Reading" programs are scheduled:
- Thursday, Feb. 1 at 10:30 a.m. at Austin Davis Public Library, 17808 Wayne Road in Odessa. Groups must call (813) 273-3652 to register in advance.
- Monday, Feb. 5 at 6 p.m. at North Tampa Branch Library, 8916 N. Boulevard in Tampa
- Wednesday, Feb. 7 at 10:30 a.m. at John F. Germany Public Library, 900 N. Ashley Drive in Tampa
- Friday, Feb. 9 at 4 p.m. at Jimmie B. Keel Regional Library, 2902 W. Bearss Ave. in Tampa
- Wednesday, Feb. 14 at 10:30 a.m. at Maureen Gauzza Public Library, 11211 Countryway Blvd. in Tampa
For Minor, who retired from a corporate career in media relations and government affairs, this journey that began 17 years ago is both a passion and a mission.
"We love libraries, and I was always a big reader," he said. "We've had so many adventures. It's amazing."
Here are some fun facts about Daisy, the literacy ambassador pig:
- Daisy and her adorable entourage are on the road nine to 10 months a year, visiting libraries and schools. They also go to assisted living facilities, nursing homes, and juvenile detention centers.
- Home is Bristol, Conn., where Paul Minor grew up on a family farm and still is involved in the seasonal business.
- Daisy is actually Daisy II. Her predecessor made her public debut at a "kiss a pig" booth at a Bristol Boys & Girls Club fundraiser. That led to a visit to a local library, and a star was born.
- She has the largest collection of pig books in the world - more than 1,000 - many in different languages that were sent to her from fans around the globe. She also has more than 1,300 library cards.
- She likes to sleep in bed between Farmer Minor and Mrs. Minor, and sometimes she tries to push them out. In other words, she hogs the bed.
For information about other library events in February, call (813) 273-3652 or visit HCPLC.org.