Author Todd Zimmermann will share his beloved children’s book Oliver Doodle Dandy with guests at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and Museum on July 4, 2023 at 10:30 a.m. The library is located at 40 Presidential Drive in Simi Valley, Calif. The event is free and open to the public. Reading the book will entertain those attending, as well as be engaged by writing “Notes of Love” for Operation Finally Home. This charity helps provide housing to wounded soldiers.
“Oliver’s story is mine and probably yours,” says Zimmermann. “I’m just someone from Sheboygan, Wisconsin, who thought he had it all: a great job and life. Circumstances intervened, and I had to start over. That’s when I started living my full American dream. I want others to know they can live their dream, too.”
The book teaches children that in America, you can accomplish anything you dream of and that what unites us is more significant than what divides us. Oliver Doodle Dandy is a spin-off of the award-winning Christmas series and teaches children about American history, geography, inspirational Americans, and more.
Zimmermann has given away thousands of his books to hospitalized children and classrooms nationwide. His American Dream curriculum is available free to any teacher in America. It includes options for community service projects, book-related activities, games, speech and research projects, a sing-along, and story time for classroom use.
“These notes of love fit perfectly into the Oliver Doodle Dandy curriculum, and we’re grateful that we can help the organization with its wonderful mission,” Zimmermann said. “This book is an effort to help our youngest Americans learn that America still offers opportunities to everyone. Partnering with Operation, Finally Home allows us to give back to the heroes whose efforts ensure our American freedom.”
Zimmermann started the American Dream tour on May 15, 2023, where he learned to read and write James Madison Elementary in Sheboygan, Wisconsin. He has made stops in Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Louisiana, and Michigan, along with some planned in California leading up to the final event.
Fifteen percent of Zimmermann’s online sales profits during the tour will go to Operation Finally Home. Operation Finally Home is a national nonprofit organization that builds hope by providing mortgage-free homes and home modifications to wounded, ill, or injured veterans, first responders, and their families. Before the drywall is installed in the home, family, friends, and the community gather at the building site to surround the family with “Notes of Love” by signing inspirational phrases, scripture, and notes of appreciation on bare studs and headers. Recipients of these homes read the notes before the drywall goes up, so their home is wrapped in love.
“We are honored to be a part of this inspirational curriculum,” said Molly Halliday, Operation Finally Home’s vice president of marketing. “Our love notes are so special, and we can’t wait to see all the words of appreciation and gratitude from the children as we share them with our heroes who have sacrificed so much to protect this great country.”
Zimmermann, a Sheboygan native now based in Chicago, launched his book series in 2015. Since then, he has expanded from a print edition and associated ornaments, games, and other products to a digital version. He has read the book in hundreds of stores and classrooms across the country and with former First Lady Melania Trump at the Children’s National Hospital in Washington, D.C.
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