George the Giraffe continues his book tour

Valley Children’s releases new book in series of its mascot’s adventures through the Central Valley

The Sun-Gazette

MADERA – There are two new ways for local children to spend time with one of the most recognized figures in the Central Valley – George the Giraffe! Valley Children’s this week released a new book featuring him, “Out & About with George in Fresno & Madera Counties,” and a stuffed animal in the likeness of the healthcare network’s beloved mascot.

“Out & About with George in Fresno and Madera Counties” is the third book in the “Out &  About” series, following books released last year for Kern and Stanislaus counties on the opening of Valley Children’s specialty care centers in each community. The book, designed for younger readers, showcases kid-friendly activities and landmarks around Madera County, where Valley Children’s Hospital is located, and Fresno County, where the hospital began nearly 70 years ago. The book is written and illustrated by local moms, author Claire Noland and illustrator Mykel Newton Suntrapak, both of whom have a personal connection to Valley Children’s.

Additionally, for the first known time in more than a decade, families can bring home their own George plush toy. This soft and adorable 14-inch-tall version of the Valley Children’s mascot helps bring the “Out & About” series to life, while providing patients a comforting and familiar friend.

“Since the hospital’s early days, George has represented the heart of this organization – kindness, caring for others and the magic of childhood,” says Lynne Ashbeck, senior vice president, community engagement and population wellness at Valley Children’s Healthcare. “The chance to tell George’s story – and the stories of the communities we serve – through the talents of local artists was the perfect way to capture Valley Children’s traditions, values and our deep roots in this Valley that we have served for nearly seven decades.”

All books in the George series – including “A Home for George,” “Out & About with George in Kern County,” “Out & About with George in Stanislaus County” and “George Makes a Splash,” a water safety book – are available for sale through the Valley Children’s Hospital Gift Shop, the Holiday Boutique in Fresno, Barnes & Noble, Petunia’s Place Children’s Books in Fresno and Giftworks in Oakhurst. The stuffed animals are only for sale in the Gift Shop and Holiday Boutique. All proceeds benefit Valley Children’s patients and programs.

Valley Children’s Literacy Program will distribute free copies of the books to patients at the hospital and all medical group locations. The program hands out nearly 2,000 books a month to kids from Bakersfield to Modesto, with the intent to place new books in the hands of children in a region with some of the lowest literacy rates in the U.S. For more information, visit www.valleychildrens.org.

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