And the Pepsi Power Patrol performs before the game begins,
And there the players don red, blue and white,
And there the stars burn crimson bright,
And there Jody Shelly is ready to fight…
All apologies to Shel Silverstein, author of the children’s classic, Where the Sidewalk Ends, which just happens to be Manny Malhotra’s favorite children’s book, but Tuesday marked the kick off of the Columbus Blue Jackets Book Jackets program with players making appearances at four schools around Columbus.
Malhotra visited the Columbus Academy, while Jason Chimera, along with FSN Ohio color analyst Danny Gare made an appearance at Grandview Heights Intermediate; defenseman Aaron Johnson, along with Blue Jackets in-arena host Mike Todd visited Avalon Elementary and Anders Eriksson, accompanied by FSN Ohio announcer Jeff Rimer and CBJ Radio Network host Mark Wyant appeared at Genoa Middle School.
The Blue Jackets Book Jackets, presented by Univar, is an incentive-based program that was created to encourage students in grades K-8 to spend their free time exercising their minds by reading. The goal is for students to spend a minimum of 800 minutes reading over a four-week period with Blue Jackets gifts and exclusive opportunities available as a reward for those who complete the requirements. The program is presented in partnership with the Columbus Dispatch Newspapers in Education program and the Columbus Metropolitan Libraries.
Since introducing the Blue Jackets Book Jackets program in 2001, more than nearly 10,000 Central Ohio students have read a cumulative 17 million minutes.
As a part of the program, Johnson will be the Celebrity Reader on Oct. 25 at the Gahanna Library from 7-8 p.m.