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Alphabet Book Created by City Kids to Debut at World Financial Center

By Meredith Hoffman | September 5, 2012 11:29am

WILLIAMSBURG — "H" is for Heartwarming.

A charming new alphabet book written by 100 city elementary school kids who belong to a literacy organization dedicated to the memory of a 9/11 victim will be unveiled this weekend at the World Financial Center in anticipation of the anniversary of the World Trade Center attacks.

In the colorful work "ABC: My Family and Me," children from Williamsburg, Downtown Brooklyn and Washington Heights created a book that includes 26 stories about themselves and their families, each centered around a different letter.

"The idea was to come up with a word that characterized your family in some way or that painted a picture described a moment in your family’s life," said Lai-Wan Wong, education director for St. Nick's Alliance, one of the programs that worked on the project. "Not all of them are positive values but some of them are poignant and real...it shows the spectrum of human life in families."

The book is the culmination of spring and summer programs funded by the Brooke Jackman Foundation, a literacy organization commemorating World Trade Center terror attacks victim Brooke Jackman.

"Family was the most important thing for Brooke," wrote Erin Jackman, Brooke's sister, in the book's foreword. "This special book is a way for children to share the unique stories about their family life. It symbolizes the spirit of BJF and the spirit that drives it, but most significantly, this is a book written for children, by children."

The Williamsburg children who took part in the project — from P.S. 19, P.S. 132, and P.S. 15 and age 6-11 — collaborated to create a handful of the stories, including "f" for "fancy" and  "l" for "loveable," Wong said.

"When I went to put away some clothes in my mother's closet...I found a huge collection of shoes my mom has never worn. Can someone say fancy?" the lighthearted page for the letter reads, with a drawing of a curly-haired girl and rows of shoes above the story. "I guess being fancy runs in my family."

The story for "loveable," meanwhile, includes a description of a child's routine of hugging his brother each night before bed. 

"We communicate, care for each other, and most importantly, encourage each other," the book says.

The Jackman family, who hope to raise money for future programs with the book, said the book's publication is a chance to honor Brooke Jackman's constant literary passion.

"She was always reading — reading as she got off the school bus, when we dragged her along to games for her older brother and sister, during sleepovers with friends," Erin Jackman wrote in the forward. "It is our hope that every child who reads this book will love it the way our Brooke loved her books."

The book will debut at the Brooke Jackman Foundation's Read-a-Thon Saturday, Sep. 8 at 12 p.m. at the Winter Garden of the World Financial Center. All proceeds from the $25 book will go toward the foundation's work.