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BLACKOUT (the book) hits schools

by on November 29, 2012
Paul Hanson, Distribution System Planning, reads BLACKOUT to students on Read to Me Day in West Virginia and Virginia.

(Story by Cynthia Miller)

CHARLESTON — The book BLACKOUT turned out to be a great fit for Read to Me Day thanks to Mother Nature and hundreds of devoted Appalachian Power employees. With books and materials in hand, employee volunteers fanned out across the service territory Nov. 15 to share in the read-aloud experience at nearly 400 elementary schools.

BLACKOUT, written and illustrated by John Rocco, is inspired by massive power outages experienced over the summers in Brooklyn, New York. “I am so honored to have BLACKOUT be part of this event. What an amazing thing you guys are doing. Especially during these trying times! Thank you so much for choosing my book, and thank you to all the wonderful employees who are taking their time to read to children,” said Rocco after learning his book had been chosen. On the day everyone was reading, he added his thanks on Appalachian Power’s Facebook page.

At each of the schools, employees read to students in two or more classrooms, then donated the book to the school’s library. Readers also encouraged students to participate in a discussion on preparing for power outages, staying safe and keeping entertained during a blackout. A handout reiterating the information was left behind for families to review at home.


Approximately 300 employees were able to participate in this event, despite some last minute rearranging to accommodate those who went north to work storm restoration. Replacement readers were either found or schools rescheduled for December. Each reader who participated received a polo-style shirt to wear on Read to Me Day.

“Our Read to Me Day school partnership is a great way for our employees to be involved in communities where they live and work,” said Cindy Miller, Read to Me Day coordinator. “It’s also an opportunity for us to emphasize the important role that reading plays in education and career development.”

The company began large-scale participation in West Virginia in 2001 and expanded to Virginia last year. Over the years, Appalachian Power has donated more than 4,000 books to school libraries and read aloud to more than 175,000 students.

Also available for viewing is a video trailer about BLACKOUT.

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