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Jenna Bush Hager left in tears after hearing message from mother

By Stew Davidson
March 2, 2024

Jenna Bush Hager was moved to tears on the Today show by a heartfelt message from her mother, Laura Bush.

On a special day for Hager, her mother, former first lady Laura Bush, delivered a surprise that left her visibly emotional. The occasion was the fifth anniversary of the "Read with Jenna" book club, a milestone celebrated on the Today show amid Jenna's colleagues and a crowd of supportive authors.

The event took place in the Today plaza, where an assembly line of book club authors was formed, symbolizing the nationwide impact of Jenna's literary initiative, as reported by the Daily Mail.

A heartwarming surprise from Laura Bush

During the broadcast, co-host Hoda Kotb teased Jenna with a message from someone she said was very proud of her achievements.

The screen then revealed Laura Bush, who expressed her congratulations and pride in Jenna's work with the book club. Her words resonated deeply with Jenna, who couldn't help but tear up upon hearing her mother's praise.

Laura Bush's message highlighted the significance of the book club's anniversary coinciding with National Read Across America Day. As a former public school teacher and librarian, Laura's commendation carried extra weight, emphasizing the educational and cultural impact of Jenna's efforts.

Laura said:

Hi Jenna, as we celebrate Read Across America Day, I congratulate you on five years of the Read with Jenna book club. I'm thrilled you're packing up each of your Read with Jenna selections and sending the books to a library in all 50 states. By sharing your favorite books, you're inspiring more Americans to fall in love with reading. So here's to another five years of happy reading for you and all of the Today show viewers. Love you.

Jenna's colleagues celebrate her success

The emotional moment was followed by an outpouring of support from Jenna's Today show colleagues.

Carson Daly commented on Laura Bush's appearance, to which Jenna humorously attributed the benefits of reading to one's skin. Hoda Kotb, Jenna's co-host on Today with Hoda & Jenna, lauded Jenna for turning a simple idea into a significant cultural movement that has influenced reading habits across America.

Kotb said:

Can we just give an "atta girl" to Jenna Bush Hager for a minute? Because this is something she started five years ago.

Craig Melvin also chimed in, acknowledging Jenna's role in reinvigorating America's reading culture. He noted how Jenna's personal selection of books for the club had a considerable impact, with many titles becoming best-sellers and being adapted into movies and TV shows.

The impact of Read with Jenna

Jenna shared her gratitude for the community of readers that has grown around the book club.

She reflected on the success of her selections, many of which have gained critical acclaim and widespread popularity. The assembly of authors at the event was a testament to the diverse and rich literary contributions the book club has showcased over the years.

Jenna said:

It's so fun to have all of these authors here and to get to see all of these books. I am really proud of the community of readers that get to read with all of them.

In celebration of the book club's anniversary, Jenna also shared her personal top five favorite books, distinct from her book club picks.

This list provided insight into her personal taste and the influential books that have shaped her love for reading.

Jenna's love for reading shines through

Jenna's passion for reading was evident as she discussed how books serve as an escape and a means of exploring new worlds and perspectives.

Her dedication to spreading the joy of reading has not only enriched the lives of Today show viewers but has also made a significant impact on the literary world.

As the segment concluded, it was clear that the "Read with Jenna" book club is more than just a segment on a morning show; it's a vibrant community that celebrates the power of reading.

Jenna's initiative has successfully connected readers across the nation, promoting literacy and the joy of discovering new stories.


  • Jenna Bush Hager was moved to tears by a surprise message from her mother, Laura Bush, during the fifth anniversary celebration of the "Read with Jenna" book club.
  • The celebration coincided with National Read Across America Day, emphasizing the cultural and educational significance of Jenna's work.
  • Jenna's colleagues and a community of authors praised her for making a substantial impact on America's reading habits.
  • The "Read with Jenna" book club has not only highlighted numerous best-sellers but also created a vibrant community of readers.
  • Jenna's personal love for reading and her dedication to sharing this passion have been central to the book club's success.