I can still remember the first time I read a book aloud all by myself, “The Cat in the Hat” by Dr. Seuss. It felt a little like riding a bike for the first time.
I started out slowly, unsure of myself, and then before I knew it the words were flying off the page and out of my voice at speeds I never could have imagined. Was I reading out of a genuine grasp of phonics? Pure memorization? A little bit of both? Looking back, I’m not sure, but either way, the hours my mother had spent reading to me at the laundromat while we waited on our clothes had paid off. I can still conjure up the smell of detergent and the feel of the heat from the dryers every time I read “The Cat in the Hat.”
The books we read as children stick with us in ways big and small. From sparking a small memory of everyday childhood to becoming the catalyst for my love of reading, The Cat in the Hat holds a special place in my heart. Perhaps that is why I am so excited about Greenwood Public Library’s upcoming celebration of Dr. Seuss’s birthday and Read Across America.
The National Education Association’s Read Across America originated as a celebration around Dr. Seuss’s birthday. In recent years, Read Across America has grown into a yearlong celebration of diverse books and readers. The NEA promotes a different Read Across America theme each month, and March’s theme is “Bring Communities Together.” This is fitting for GPL’s weeklong Read Across America celebration, in which we hope to see children and families from throughout our community gather together to celebrate a love of reading.
Throughout the week of February 27 visitors to the Kids Department will have the opportunity to participate in our “Oh, The Books You’ve Read Display” by hanging up a hot air balloon with the name of their favorite book. A book cover scavenger hunt will send kids throughout the department in search of photos of classic book covers and characters like Pete the Cat or Goodnight Moon. Kids can play “Hopscotch on Pop” as they find rhyming words inspired by Dr. Seuss’s “Hop on Pop.” They will also be able to help Pete the Cat put on his groovy white shoes by playing “Pin the Shoes on Pete!” Exploration Stations, GPL’s early literacy drop-in activities, will also focus on Dr. Seuss and Pete the Cat that week.
On March 1, in celebration of Dr. Seuss’s birthday, GPL’s own administration team will read aloud from their favorite Dr. Seuss books in the Kids Department at 9:30 a.m., 10:30 a.m., and 4:30 p.m. Be sure to stop by for the stories and snap some photos in the Dr. Seuss photo booth. Kids will even have the opportunity to create their own photo booth props. And all visitors, as well as library staff, are encouraged to come dressed as their favorite book character or in book-themed clothing.
You may have noticed that some of our activities revolve around Pete the Cat, the beloved character from James and Kimberly Dean’s book series. That is because GPL is thrilled to bring Pete the Cat himself for storytimes and character visits to cap off our week. On March 3, the Kids Department will host Pete the Cat storytimes at 11 a.m., 1 p.m., and 3 p.m.. Each storytime will be followed by a meet-and-greet with the costumed character. Kids will also be able to create their very own Pete the Cat paper bag puppets.
We look forward to celebrating Read Across America and our love of books with our community. For more on Read Across America, including book recommendations, visit the NEA online at nea.org. And of course, stop by the Kids Department anytime to find your child’s next favorite book. You never know where a love of reading will take them, and we’re happy to be their jumping off point to a lifelong love of reading!
Katie Friedericks is a Kids Services Librarian at Greenwood Public Library. GPL staff members share in writing this twice-monthly column for the Daily Journal. Send comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.