Sixth Graders Remember a Classmate

Sixth Graders

Whenever we bring our literacy program to a school, we never know whose life David’s story will deeply touch.

Joining Barbara Saltzman are Freda Tao, Austin Tao and sixth grade teacher Christopher Lock.

In the fall of 2008, I was in San Jose, CA, at McKinley Elementary, where Comcast sponsored a Reading Makes A Difference program. Second grade teacher Lydia Adidijaja told me about Bentley, a student she mentored in first grade, who was now coping with an inoperable form of brain cancer. Ms. Adijaja’s students made Jester Sunshine Cards to send him.

Sixth Graders
Gathering together with Barbara Saltzman, Bentley Tao’s mother Freda Tao and brother Austin Tao are sixth-grade classmates, who read 24,000 pages in two weeks to donate copies of The Jester Has Lost His Jingle and Jester & Pharley Dolls to Children’s Hospital of Orange County.

Then I received an email from Bentley’s mother, Freda Tao, of Anaheim, CA. She told me how much their family loved The Jester book I sent them. “Whenever I read the book, it reminds me about my son, who also liked to say funny things to make people laugh and giggle,” she wrote.

“The day after Bentley left us, Bentley’s sixth grade teacher read The Jester to the class and they laughed through sad tears,” Mrs. Tao added, asking if it was possible for his class to remember him with a small Jester Read-A-Thon.

And so, on the 19th anniversary of David’s death, I found myself on March 2, 2009, in the Sunkist Elementary School library in Anaheim, sharing David’s book with Bentley’s classmates, teachers, his identical twin Austin, and their mother.

The Jester & Pharley Phund

The Jester & Pharley Phund

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