- The Washington Times - Tuesday, March 6, 2007

Jenna Bush could be a best-selling author by autumn: The first daughter has written a nonfiction account of her experiences during the last five months as a UNICEF volunteer in Central America. Realities of life have resonated with the 25-year-old daughter of President Bush and first lady Laura Bush.

“Ana’s Story: A Journey of Hope” will be published by HarperCollins in September, chronicling the challenges faced by a teenage single mother in Panama who is an orphan herself and HIV positive.

“I have been inspired by my work with adolescents in Central and South America. These young people have faced extreme hardships and exclusion, but are strong in spirit and have an incredible will to succeed,” said Miss Bush, who currently teaches several days a week in a Panamanian homeless shelter.

She’s witnessed the hardships personally, traveling through the countryside of Paraguay and Argentina and recording the personal narratives of youngsters with considerable inner mettle.

“It’s my hope to motivate young Americans to increase their awareness of other young people around the world, to learn about the challenges they face, how they triumph over adversity and to become involved in helping them,” Miss Bush said.

“I think there will be enormous interest in this book. In many ways, it is a real call to action,” said Robert Barnett, the Washington-based lawyer who brokered the deal between publisher and author.

His list of literary clients include such high-powered luminaries as former President Bill Clinton; Democratic Sens. Hillary Rodham Clinton of New York and Barack Obama of Illinois; Vice President Dick Cheney’s wife, Lynne; former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan; former White House press secretary Ari Fleischer; Queen Noor of Jordan; and former Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto — among others.

“I was very taken by how articulate and compassionate Jenna Bush was, and how well she had done with the writing,” Mr. Barnett said. “She’s committed to the issues and causes she has written about.”

HarperCollins will offer an initial printing of 500,000 copies of the book, which also includes color photography from Mia Baxter, a classmate of Miss Bush from her days at the University of Texas.

“We were very moved by Jenna’s passion for this project. Her message in this book is about hope, involvement and inclusion,” said Susan Katz, president of HarperCollins Children’s Books.

The intended audience is young adults, and yes, there will be a book tour. However, profit is not on the mind of Miss Bush, who will donate her earnings to UNICEF, an international charitable group with immunization, educational and sanitation outreaches in 191 countries. HarperCollins also has agreed to donate a portion of the profits to the charity.

Miss Bush will complete her UNICEF internship in June; her twin sister, Barbara, continues to work at Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum in Manhattan.

News of the book attracted substantial world press coverage. “Jenna Bush writes book about single mom,” heralded an Associated Press account. The White House declined to comment on the book yesterday.

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