In support of City National Bank’s Reading is The way up program, Sparks fans are encouraged to bring one (1) new children’s book with them to the game this Sunday vs. Seattle. City National Bank’s Reading is The way up Book Drive donation drop-off locations will be outside of the Southwest VIP Entrance (near the Team LA store) as well as the 11th Street Entrance into STAPLES Center.

All Sparks fans who donate at least one (1) new children’s book will receive a voucher good for a ticket to a future Sparks home game at STAPLES Center (excluding games on 6/21, 8/3, and 8/7). All books collected will be donated to the Children’s Bureau, whose executive staff will be honored at center court Sunday for all of their work with children and families in the local community.

The Los Angeles Sparks have teamed up with City National Bank to encourage Southern California youth to discover the joy of reading and to experience a lifelong love of books. Research confirms that children learn better and are more likely to be literate later in life when they have access to books. On June 8, Sparks players DeLisha Milton-Jones, Ebony Hoffman, and Jenna O’Hea were part of a school assembly at Synergy Charter Academy and Quincy Jones Elementary School in support of the Reading is The way up program presented by City National Bank at both local schools. The three Sparks stars spoke to fourth and fifth graders and answered questions about their experience growing up, how reading has made a difference in their lives, their favorite books, and their keys to success.

At the June 8 assembly, Sparks players also discussed some of their favorite books and mentioned titles such as The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis, and Oh The Places You’ll Go by Dr. Suess.

Sparks forward Jenna O’Hea explained the importance of reading saying, “I think reading is great because it really expands your imagination.” DeLisha Milton-Jones added, “It doesn’t matter if it it’s a magazine, or a hardback, or a paperback book -- just read, because it’s only going to benefit you.”

“City National Bank through our Reading is The way up program is proud to partner with the Los Angeles Sparks,” says Carolyn Rodriguez, Vice President of City National Bank and head of Reading is The way up. “At City National, we believe that it is important to give back to the communities where we work and live and to be able to provide the children in these communities with an opportunity to meet the players. To hear how much they value reading is an incredibly valuable message.”

Before the assembly concluded students got to ask some questions of their own and the players touched on the reasons they love being basketball players, and what they would be doing if they weren’t professional athletes.

“I’d want to be Beyonce,” Milton-Jones laughed. “She’s beautiful, she can sing, she can dance, everybody loves her.”

The Sparks helped present a fun but important message that reading and paying attention in school can open countless doors in the future. Check out our video recap and photo gallery from the event.

Also in support of Reading is The way up, students and families from Synergy Charter Academy, Quincy Jones Elementary, and the Children’s Bureau will attend the Sparks game vs. Seattle on June 19th. Game tickets were donated by City National Bank. For more information, visit