Babies born at Eskenazi Health to receive 3 new books chosen by literacy experts

Indianapolis, Nov. 1, 2016 - First Lady of Indianapolis Steph Hogsett joined with officials from Eskenazi Health to announce a new program that will encourage parents to read to their newborn infants and young children.

Launched this morning on the first day of National Family Literacy Month, Creating Curious Minds – Family Reading with Steph Hogsett is a free family reading program that provides three new books to every baby born at the Sidney & Lois Eskenazi Hospital and connects new parents with resources to help make literacy a key component in the life of every family.  

“I’m thrilled to work together with Eskenazi Health in developing this wonderful new reading program for parents and their young children,” said Hogsett. “As a mom myself, I know this effort will help parents connect with the resources and tools that contribute to a lifetime of learning for their children, and help develop them into healthy, happy and incredibly curious individuals.”

This new initiative coincides with research from the American Academy of Pediatrics showing that parents who spend time reading to their children create nurturing relationships, which is important for a child’s cognitive, language and social-emotional development. In addition to creating a closer bond between children and parents, reading aloud and talking about pictures and words in age-appropriate books can strengthen language skills, literacy development and parent-child relationships. 

“Our priority at Eskenazi Health remains the overall health of the community in the broadest possible terms,” said Dr. Lisa Harris, chief executive officer at Eskenazi Health. “Our biggest opportunity to have a positive impact on the health of our patients and the health and vitality of our community is to help people stay well in the first place. Education is, of course, critical to good health – and so is social connection. This new program will help foster that connection between family members through reading long after they leave the hospital. I am deeply thankful to Mrs. Hogsett for her leadership and vision in bringing this to life.” 
In addition to the three books, families receive a reusable bag for carrying the books, a card from Hogsett, information about the importance of reading, a coupon for the Indy Reads Books store on Mass Ave. and information about how to obtain a library card. The book package is provided at no cost to families.

"There are so many benefits for both parents and children when reading is introduced early, and we’re proud to offer this fantastic new program for parents and their children beginning their lives together at Eskenazi Health," said Dr. Elizabeth Ferries-Rowe, obstetrics and gynecology service chief at Eskenazi Health.

“We are enormously grateful to Indianapolis First Lady Steph Hogsett for spearheading this unique program,” said Matthew R. Gutwein, president and chief executive officer of Health and Hospital Corporation of Marion County. “Some of my fondest memories as a father include reading with my daughter. To have a program that encourages and supports family reading and that promotes a love of books is very special. We are delighted to welcome Mrs. Hogsett and Creating Curious Minds into the Eskenazi Health family.” 

Eskenazi Health and Hogsett worked with literacy experts at Indy Reads to identify the following three culturally diverse books: 

A Color of His Own by Leo Lionni, Spanish-English bilingual edition, Knopf Books for Young Readers, Brdbk Bld edition (Jan. 12, 2016)

First 100 Words by Roger Priddy, Priddy Books, Brdbk edition (May 10, 2011)

Please, Baby, Please by Spike Lee and Tonya Lewis Lee, Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, Reprint edition (April 1, 2006).

Eskenazi Health Women’s and Children’s Services provides a full range of services, from prenatal testing to surgical management of complex medical conditions. Staffed by Indiana University School of Medicine faculty physicians, the department provides one-of-a-kind care to expectant mothers and their families. Each year, more than 2,000 babies are born at the Sidney & Lois Eskenazi Hospital.

For more information on the Creating Curious Minds – Family Reading with Steph Hogsett at Eskenazi Health, please visit or call 317.880.2229 (BABY). 


CONTACT: Taylor Schaffer
Phone: 317.643.2078

CONTACT: Tom Surber
Phone: 317.880.4793 
Pager: 317.310.6589   

For 157 years, Eskenazi Health has provided high-quality, cost-effective, patient-centered health care to the residents of Marion County and Central Indiana. Accredited by The Joint Commission, nationally recognized programs include a Level I trauma center, regional burn center, comprehensive senior care program, women’s and children’s services, teen and adolescent care programs, Eskenazi Health Midtown Community Mental Health, and a network of primary care sites located throughout the neighborhoods of Indianapolis known as Eskenazi Health Center. As the public hospital division of the Health and Hospital Corporation of Marion County (HHC), Eskenazi Health partners with the Indiana University School of Medicine whose physicians provide a comprehensive range of primary and specialty care services. 


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