Actor James Earl Jones Launches Literacy Campaign In Biloxi - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Actor James Earl Jones Launches Literacy Campaign In Biloxi

"Can you hear me now?" James Earl Jones asked the crowd.

His voice is one of the most recognizable in the world.

"It was deep. Very deep," says 3rd Grader Matthew Pleasant.

"His voice sounded exactly like Darth Vader and Mufasa from the Lion King," says 3rd Grader Gage Huff.

Stage and movie star James Earl Jones made a special appearance at Gorenflo Elementary on Tuesday, and used his famous voice to read to the children.

"Clifford's Family. That's the book we're going to read today," says Jones.

"I thought he was going to talk the whole time, but he let us help him," says Matthew.

"I thought he was going to read like a Darth Vader, I mean a Star Wars comic or a Star Wars book," says Gage. When asked if he was disappointed, Gage says "No. I'm still glad we got to read this Clifford book."

Jones shared his love of books to help launch a special Verizon literacy campaign called "Reading and Healing". It's part of the company's annual Season's Readings Program.

"Art therapy and the ability to read and write is helpful for children to overcome some stress they've had to endure after the hurricanes," says Jayne Mayer, Verizon Director of Employee Programs.

The company gave each child a "Comfort Kit" -- a box filled with books, magazines, and a journal.

"Oh, I got crayons," says 3rd Grader Kelsey Picolo.

"Yeah, free books!" says Gage.

Early Christmas presents, plus, memories of meeting a special guest that will no doubt last a lifetime.

"We did have bad times during the hurricane," says Kelsey. "I just thought it made everyone happy that a celebrity got to read to us."

"It was very special for what he did, because we had trouble during the Hurricane season, and he just came down here to read to us," says Matthew.

"I was about to faint, because that's the first time that I've ever seen a celebrity that's not on TV," says Gage.

Other partners in the project include the National Center for Family Literacy, Scholastic Books, and the Mississippi Hurricane Fund. They will deliver the other 40,000 Comfort Kits to non-profit groups, which will distribute the kits to schools.

By: Trang Pham-Bui

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