Listen to an audio story by Annenberg Radio News:
The Los Angeles Times Festival of Books is opening a new chapter at the University of Southern California. For the first time in 15 years, the event is switching locations, and the change of location brings one of the authors a little closer to home.
The late David Saltzman, son of USC professor Joe Saltzman, will have his best-selling book “The Jester Has Lost His Jingle” featured at the event. His mother, Barbara Saltzman, says the book has an inspiring message.
“The book is a wonderful, joyful happy story about laughter and how it’s always inside of us no matter what is going on in our lives,” she said.
David wrote and illustrated the book his senior year at Yale while fighting Hodgkin’s disease. Before he passed away, his family promised him his book would be published.
“He was completing the book, knowing that he might not survive, and he maintained his optimism and his sense of humor and laughter throughout that process,” Saltzman said. “Any child who reads the book really grasps the message of joy that is contained within it.”
The Saltzmans have continued to honor their son’s memory by starting The Jester and Pharly Phund. It’s a nonprofit dedicated to both helping ill children and encouraging a love for reading among students nationwide.
“The Jester tells Pharley that it’s up to us to make a difference, it’s up to us to care, and we have taken that as the motto for The Jester and Pharley Phund,” Saltzman said. “And that is what inspires children.”
Through programs, more than 150,000 books have been given to hospitals, shelters, underserved schools and other special needs facilities.
“Our programs have been overwhelmingly successful,” Saltzman said. “Our children have read more than 26 million pages in 10 years to help other children.”
This saturday, The Jester and Pharly Phund will have its own booth at the festival. For each book that is sold, the Saltzmans will donate a book to a child in the hospital.