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

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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.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.


Susanne’s Mission

Susanne Brunner is the Morning Anchor on KARK 4 TODAY and also shares weekly education reports. Some have highlighted positive stories about the importance of reading at an early age and ensuring more children have a book of their own. Susanne’s goal is to write stories that teach kids valuable life lessons. She also hopes her published book “Busker the Tusker” helps build a special bond between children and their parents. Growing up, Susanne’s mom told her a special bedtime story that she remembers and holds dear to this day. That memory encouraged Susanne to create a tale of her own to tell, which is how “Busker the Tusker” came to life. Click here to learn more about the book 

 Susanne Brunner’s Book-A-Thon: 10 Books. 10 Weeks., is a reading initiative she launched in September 2019 to encourage more children to pick up a book to read. Susanne and Busker are visiting schools across Arkansas to read his story and to inspire kids to take the pledge to read 10 books in 10 weeks. You can download and print the pledge on this site. Once kids finish their reading adventure, Susanne and Busker will give them a certificate of completion. Her goal is to reach as many kids as possible, teach them the importance of reading, and help make a difference in Arkansas’ reading deficit. What are you waiting for? Join Susanne’s reading adventure!

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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).
  • One-third of Arkansas schools report average literacy scores lower than 25 percent (Department of Education in Arkansas, 2015).
  • Only 39% of Arkansas’ graduating seniors met reading readiness benchmarks on the ACT (2015).

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