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Second Madonna children's book out
( 2003-11-14 17:05) (Agencies)

Madonna's second book for children, "Mr. Peabody's Apples" -- a story about the power of words and the importance of teachers -- is now in bookstores.

"This book was inspired by a nearly 300-year-old story that was told to me by my Kabbalah teacher," Madonna said in a statement. "When I began to write books for children, I decided to share the essence of this story in one of them. ... I hope I have done his story justice."

She gave her first reading of "Mr. Peabody's Apples" Tuesday morning before fourth- through eighth-graders at the Montclair Kimberley Academy, a private day school in Montclair, N.J.

With about 40 students seated at her feet on the stage and more than 300 in the auditorium, she told her listeners -- and a throng of cameramen and reporters from the entertainment press -- that it was her first reading before a live audience.

"I think it's easier singing for a stadium full of people than this," she said.

Madonna's first book, "The English Roses," published simultaneously around the world on Sept. 15, is a best seller. "Mr. Peabody's Apples," which takes place in 1949 in Happville, USA, is being released in more than 110 countries.

"Yakov and the Seven Thieves," the third of five children's books planned by the 45-year-old pop singer, will be released in April 2004.

New York-based Callaway Arts & Entertainment is the originating publisher. Madonna's books are being distributed in the United States by Penguin Group U.S.

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