KARK 4 Today’s Susanne Brunner launches children’s book

Local News
Susanne Brunner with Busker and book__1561137294296.jpg

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (News release) – After more than a decade of sharing news stories on local television, Little Rock anchor Susanne Brunner is telling a story of her own in a children’s book. The KARK 4 News morning anchor has released her first book, which is titled “Busker the Tusker,” and she is eager to share it with young readers.

The story follows the journey of a curious young elephant who wakes up one morning to find his family missing. In his endeavor to search for them, he meets unlikely friends who possess unique skills that help him find his herd as he wanders through Africa’s various habitats.

Because Brunner is an avid reader who volunteers reading to local elementary school students, the publishing of Busker the Tusker is especially meaningful to her. “It’s a story about friends and family being there for each other. It’s a tale about lending a hand and being kind – an important life lesson for all of us,” she said.

Brunner, who also shares education reports weekly on KARK 4, understands the importance of reading early. According to AR Kids Read, a Little Rock-based reading initiative, 63 percent of third-grade students in Arkansas are reading below grade level. RISE Arkansas, an Arkansas Department of Education reading effort, reports the state ranks in the lower one-third in reading scores compared to other states.

Brunner said she hopes Busker the Tusker excites kids about picking up a book for their parents to read to them, and eventually one day, reading on their own.

“Reading creates a powerful bond between a parent and child. I remember when I was a little girl, my mom would tell my sister and me a story before bedtime. We listened and loved the emotion she expressed. Stories she shared inspired my love for reading. I still remember that, and I want Busker the Tusker to have the same impact. I believe it does,” Brunner said.

“In today’s world, parents are busier than ever, and children have electronic devices in their hands at an early age. It’s my goal to complement that with a good book like Busker the Tusker,” she added.

Brunner said this is the first book in a planned series that will highlight Busker the Tusker’s friends who live in the African wilderness. Each friend has a special lesson to teach.

Brunner will read Busker the Tusker, sign books and have them available for sale at the following locations:

  • The Little Rock Zoo, 1 Zoo Drive, Little Rock  – Sat., July 20 at 10 a.m.
  • WordsWorth Books & Co., 5920 R St. Little Rock – Sat., July 20 at 3 p.m.
  • Museum of Discovery, 500 Pres. Clinton Ave. #150, Little Rock – Sat, July 27 at 11 a.m.

For additional information on Busker the Tusker signing events and readings, follow @BuskertheTuskerandfriends on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Books may be purchased at Buskerthetuskerandfriends.com

*Susanne is also starting a reading initiative this fall when she will visit schools to read her book to kids to promote reading at an early age.

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Arkansas’ Reading Deficit

  • Only 31% of Arkansas’ 4th-grade students are proficient in reading (National Assessment of Educational Progress, 2015).
  • Arkansas ranks in the lower third in reading scores in comparison to other states (National Assessment of Educational Progress, 2015).
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  • Only 39% of Arkansas’ graduating seniors met reading readiness benchmarks on the ACT (2015).