Barbara Bush reads to sick children in Portland

Posted June 08, 2011, at 1:36 p.m.
Last modified June 08, 2011, at 4:44 p.m.

PORTLAND, Maine — Former first lady Barbara Bush has celebrated her 86th birthday by reading to young patients at The Barbara Bush Children’s Hospital at Maine Medical Center.

With her two dogs sitting at her feet Wednesday, Bush read aloud “Learning to Ski With Mr. Magee” as about 20 sick children gathered along with their families in the sixth floor inpatient wing.

Afterward, Bush was presented with a lilac tree decorated with cards created by the children. She said it would be planted at the family’s summer home in Maine.

Bush, a longtime promoter of family literacy, and former President George H.W. Bush spend summers at their seaside home in Kennebunkport, 35 miles south of Portland.