March 2nd is Read Across America Day. It also happens to be the birthday of one of America’s most beloved authors, Dr. Seuss, or Theodor Seuss Geisel. A political cartoonist and World War II writer and producer of United States Army animation and films, Seuss did not start out as a writer of children’s stories. In 1937, after a chance encounter with a Dartmouth friend on the sidewalks of New York City, a dejected Seuss accepted a position at the Vanguard Press. Seuss had just received his 27th manuscript rejection. Little did he know that position would launch his extraordinary children’s book writing career. As an employee of Vanguard Press he published “And to Think that I Saw It on Mulberry Street”. Later Seuss commented, “If I had been going down the other side of Madison Avenue, I’d be in the dry-cleaning business today”. (www.history.com/news/9-things-you-may-not-know-about-dr-seuss)
In celebration of Read Across America this March, here are four easy ways to bring the joy of reading to all ages:
Set up a Cozy Reading Café
Transform the corner of a room or reading space with over-sized plush pillows, fun lava lamps and blankets. Place a small storage cabinet or bin in the space that contains favorite storybooks, short stories, comics, plays or poetry. Kids can imagine they are going to a café or bookstore and make some lemonade and chocolate chip cookies to enjoy while reading their favorite books.
Go Around the World with Books
Invite friends over for a “Go Around the World” night to learn about different cultures and nationalities. Have each guest bring a book on a country of his or her choice and make a dish or dessert from that country. Kids can talk about what they learned from their book while sharing the foods as a way to experience other cultures. Whether South American brigadeiros, French crèpes, Greek baklava or other international delicacy– kids will have a blast tasting and sharing in the rich histories of the world.
There are many books that teach kindness through stories and illustrations such as Have You Filled a Bucket Today? by Carol McCloud or Last Stop on Market Street by Matt de la Peña. Have your child research these types of books and then go to the bookstore or used bookstore to purchase one. Ask your child to think about someone in his/her class who might be having a tough week. Talk to your child about giving that classmate the book as a way to share kindness. This is a great way to get your child to think about others and develop a heart of giving.
Little Free Library
Read across your neighborhood with the installation of a Little Free Library (www.littlefreelibrary.org). Or go on a drive in search of little free library stations in neighborhoods throughout the city. Bring a book to leave, and look for a book to borrow. Little free libraries promote reading and sharing of books in your neighborhood by creating a spot where books can be housed and shared freely.
Feature photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com
Story photo by Daria Shevtsova
Aimee Serafin, editor of the Augusta Family Magazine.