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The literary legacy of Barbara Bush

Former first lady Barbara Bush reads "The Best Mouse Cookie" by Laura Numeroff, Thursday, Aug. 22, 2013, at the Barbara Bush Children's Hospital at Maine Medical Center in Portland, Maine. Bush read a children's book to the patients and let them meet her dog.

Robert F. Bukaty / AP

Perhaps one of the most lasting impacts former First Lady Barbara Bush leaves behind is her passion for literacy. From President George H.W Bush's simple letters of affirmation and affection for his beloved wife to the late Mrs. Bush's campaign as first lady to champion childhood and adult literacy, reading and writing has been a cornerstone of the Bush family legacy.  

Family Literacy:

During her husband's time as vice president and later as president, Barbara Bush focused on literacy as her signature cause, focusing on bringing awareness to early childhood education and adult literacy for parents. Inspired by her belief that every man, woman and child should have the opportunity to secure a better life through literacy, Mrs. Bush established the Barbara Bush Foundation for Family Literacy in March of 1989 during her husband's presidency. Her daughter Dorothy "Doro" Bush Koch, now acts as the foundation's honorary chair. 

"I honestly believe that if more people could read, write and comprehend, we would be that much closer to solving so many of the problems that plague our nation," she said in a 1990 speech.

President George H.W. Bush later signed the National Literacy Act in 1991. According to the foundation, since its passage, millions of adults have had a second chance to earn their high school diplomas, and tens of millions more have learned to read, write and speak English.

Bush books: 

Beyond the first lady's platform issue, literacy and writing has become a family passion as well. Mrs. Bush and her husband, sons, daughter, grandkids and even the family dog wrote have collectively written reams of books, twenty of them, over the course of the Bush presidencies and in their post-White House lives. 

Mrs. Bush wrote books about her personal life including the tragic death of their daughter Robin in her acclaimed "Barbara Bush: A Memoir" as well as reflections on her time after the White House. While her son George W. and daughter Doro wrote about the impact their father had on their respective political and personal lives.  Millie, the Bush family dog even became an accomplished author with the Mrs. Bush's ghost writing. "Millie's Book: As Dictated to Barbara Bush" reached #1 on the New York Times bestseller nonfiction list in 1990, and raised more than $1 million for the Barbara Bush Foundation. The book recounts her adventures as the First Canine in a tour of her famous residence alongside her equally famous owners. 

Former US First Lady laurah Bush (L) acc

Former US First Lady laurah Bush (L) accompanied by her twin daughters Jenna (2ndL) and Barbara (2ndR) read a story to Zambian pupils in Lusaka on December 3, 2011.=

Afp / AFP/Getty Images

The love of writing passed onto another first lady as well, Laura Bush. The first lady released a memoir as well as two children's books co-written with her daughter Jenna Bush Hager. The Bush daughters also recently released a book of their stories on growing up in their well-known family. 

And with a love story of their own, George H.W. Bush's collection of letters and diary entries provided readers a personal insight into the courtship that became their 73-year long marriage. The president compiled the notes he wrote to Barbara when they were engaged in their late teens. 

CBS News' Ed O'Keefe and Emily Tillett contributed to this report.