The Detroit RiverFront Conservancy and General Motors marked the season’s end of the popular Reading & Rhythm on the Riverfront (R3) literacy program on August 11 with the launch of a children’s book by a local author who had deep ties to the City of Detroit. It was the first time in the seven-year history of the program that a book was launched during an R3 session.
The Tale of the Beautiful Cat, was written by Ruth Cain, a native Detroiter educated in Detroit Public Schools who went on to become a newspaper writer, public relations executive and a columnist. Cain, who passed away in 2011, is considered royalty in local media and public relations circles. Among her many awards, she was honored posthumously with the Detroit Public Relations Society of America Hall of Fame Award in 2014 for significant contributions to her profession and the community. She was married to the late Charles C. Cain, who worked at the Associated Press. The couple had seven children, several of whom followed their parents into the journalism business.
While maintaining a busy career and raising a large family, Cain always made time to give back to the community. For many years, she enjoyed tutoring children in Detroit Public Schools and helping them learn to read.
“Literacy and education were always important to our mother,” said Carol Cain, who is also senior producer/host of CBS TV “Michigan Matters” and a columnist for the Detroit Free Press. “Our family is very pleased to have this book in print so many young children can enjoy this story.”
The Tale of the Beautiful Cat tells the story of Fleurette, a little cat that loses its tail, but finds she is still beautiful in her family’s eyes. Cain enjoyed telling the story of Fleurette first to her children and then to her six grandchildren. The Conservancy invited her to share a manuscript of the story during an R3 session in 2011. Cain died three months later, but her daughters Carol Cain and Nancy Cain return to the riverfront each year to read the story during R3.
“Ruth’s family has been dreaming about publishing the book for years and her daughters Carol and Nancy have read here many times, so we’re thrilled and honored that they chose to launch the book during Reading & Rhythm on the Riverfront,” said Mark Wallace, president & CEO of the Detroit RiverFront Conservancy.
Cain’s family teamed up with General Motors, Detroit Public Schools Foundation, Detroit Public Schools Community District and the Detroit RiverFront Conservancy to bring her book to life. The book is underwritten with the support of General Motors.
“We know that literacy is the foundation of educational success,” said Lori Wingerter, who leads Detroit community partnerships for GM. “GM is proud to support these reading programs and help foster an excitement around learning for thousands of Detroit children.”
Copies of the book are being provided to all Detroit Public Schools in partnership with the Detroit Public Schools Foundation. All proceeds from sales of the book are being donated to the DPS Foundation, which is dedicated to early childhood education, literacy and skills to prepare students for the future.
“What a great legacy Mrs. Cain, a former DPS student, leaves for her family and our city,” said Pamela Moore, president and chief executive officer of DPS Foundation. “Our children will love hearing and learning from this wonderful tale. We are so thankful to the Cain family for this partnership.”
The more than 100 children and their families at the R3 session were treated to a reading of the book by both Moore and Wingerter. After the reading, Ruth Cain’s daughters Carol and Nancy passed out copies of the book to all the children in attendance.
In another Detroit connection for the book, it was illustrated by Detroit-born author and illustrator Jamie Ruthenberg. She was also in attendance at the session to celebrate the book’s release and signed copies of it for the children. The book is published by J. Ruthenberg and Company Writing Services Inc. and can be purchased from Amazon.com and JamieRuthenberg.com.
Presented by the Detroit RiverFront Conservancy and General Motors, R3 is Detroit’s favorite summertime children’s literacy program. It brings business and community leaders from throughout the Detroit area to Rivard Plaza along the Detroit Riverfront to read to children while promoting literacy in a fun and interactive way. Since its launch in 2011, R3 has served more than 17,000 children and families.
The program also boasts live musical entertainment, healthy treats, make-and-take crafts, a complimentary ride on the Cullen Family Carousel and a free book provided to each child by General Motors in partnership with the Detroit Public Library’s “Library on Wheels.”
For more information about Reading & Rhythm on the Riverfront and other programs the Detroit RiverFront Conservancy offers, visit detroitriverfront.org.