Get involved with the virtual Reading Above Par book drive at the Wells Fargo Championship
By Stephanie Wei under General

Wells Fargo, this week’s title sponsor at the Quail Hollow Club, has teamed up with First Book to stage a virtual book drive called “Reading Above Par,” a non-profit organization that is determined to see that all children, regardless of their economic conditions, can achieve more in school and in life through access to an ongoing supply of new books. As an extension of this annual initiative, the bank is encouraging fans to get involved — either on-site by stopping by the “Wells Fargo Banking Center” or online via its Facebook page.

Over the last few days I’ve gone around and asked probably about two dozen players about the program and their own reading interests. You may or may not be surprised by the most popular responses (and blank stares).


C’mon, who didn’t love “Where the Wild Things Are,” or “The Giving Tree,” not to mention anything by Dr. Seuss?! Those are timeless!

Now I couldn’t decide whether my pseudo-survey results were scary or intriguing. I mean, I can’t say I was surprised (pro golfers don’t need to read to swing a club well). Probably a little of both. All hope is not lost, though. I was able to find several avid readers in the field here at the Wells Fargo Championship!

The Reading Above Par program encourages people to share their favorite book from when they were younger (or even which they enjoy reading to their kids). Let’s hear which books struck a chord with some PGA Tour players in this week’s field, along with their thoughts on the First Book program…

*”As a kid I really enjoyed “The Box Car Children” series by Gertrude Chandler Warner. I loved all of Shel Silverstein’s books. At a younger age, I liked Dr. Seuss, especially “Oh the Places You’ll Go” — it’s still very relevant for anyone from 3 to 23. I loved anything Beverly Cleary wrote. The first real book that I considered my favorite was “Where the Red Fern Grows.”

“It sounds trite, but if you put the right book in a kid’s hand and if they have access to the books, it literally can change his/her life. It’s a pretty powerful thing. Maybe the most powerful thing you can do for a kid.” –Joe Ogilvie

*”My favorite book is “Liberty and Tyranny” by Mark Levin. It’s an enlightened book about the concept of soft tyranny in the U.S.

“One of the most important things for kids to do is to get involved with reading and become educated, so anything Wells Fargo can do to help that carries a lot of weight.” –Brian Harman

*”Matt Christopher was my favorite author. They always involved sports — football, soccer, basketball, etc, but there was a twist in the plot like a murder mystery. I think it’s important for kids to read. Go America.” –Harris English

*”My favorite childhood book was ‘Goodnight Moon.’ (The First Book program) is great. I went out there (to the Wells Fargo Banking Center) last week when I was at home (here in Charlotte) and Wells Fargo is really committed to making that program flourish and succeed. They’ve given 100,000 to that program and it’s just amazing — it can go a long way. I think reading is something we take for granted. There’s a problem out there that needs to be addressed.” –Johnson Wagner

*”I’m going through those childhood books right now because of my daughter, who is 2 now, so I’m reading a bunch of children’s books to her. It’s amazing how much little kids enjoy being read to — they’ll transition out of that. We’re starting to get into the Dr. Seuss books, ‘Cat in the Hat.’ That’s been the latest fad.” –Charles Howell III

*”To Kill a Mockingbird was my favorite book. I would also say Romeo and Juliet. I think it’s great what Wells Fargo is doing with the book drive. Any time we’re trying to help the kids out and schools. The government does a poor job of giving enough money to schools, so anything we can do to help people with getting kids educated, I’m all for it.” –Chris Stroud

*”I read one to my son — ‘Snuggle Puppy.’ (My wife and I) sing it to him. He loves that. It’s awesome what Wells Fargo is doing. Anything to further the kids’ education and help children is awesome. It’s what we’re all trying to do.” –Robert Garrigus

*”Being Swedish, we always read all the Astrid Lindgren books — like Pippi Longstocking. There are like 20 or 40 different characters and styles of books she wrote, so I was reading a lot of that as a kid. These days Stieg Larsson’s ‘Millenium’ series (‘The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo’).

“In this day and age, it seems like everything is being produced — all the movies and stuff like that — so I think reading is a great way to let your imagination take you places, where it wouldn’t otherwise. That’s a key thing and it helps you develop that side of your brain. For me, it’s a good complement when I’m traveling. You can always have a book with you on the airplane when you’re waiting. It’s not as easy to have movies on iPads and such, but when they say turn off electronic devices, you can always read but you can’t watch a movie.” –Henrik Stenson

Great answer. I knew I could count on Henrik — he’s probably one of the most cerebral guys out on Tour, not to mention in my top-five for favorite players.

What impact does your donation have and how can you get involved? That’s easy.

Every $5 donated (you’re probably better off without that extra beer, anyway) to First Book buys two new books for a child in need. Along with making an online contribution, volunteers will be collecting donations on-site on Thursday and Friday from 11am-5pm and on Saturday and Sunday from 10am-5pm.

There have been well-attended live readings in the Wells Fargo Banking Center all week. The volume of kids I’ve seen early in the week is phenomenal. Players coming off the golf course were blown away with the hundreds (and hundreds!) on every hole and felt like they had never signed that many autographs in one day, but of course, everyone loves kids and anything to grow junior golf is wonderful.

On Thursday and Friday, the live “reading” is scheduled for 4pm (which is right now). Then over the weekend, there will be one at 10am, 1pm and 4pm, so plenty of opportunities to check it out.

Once again, to participate in the “Reading Above Par” book drive, go here.

This post is presented by Wells Fargo.