I can’t believe that it’s almost over and I almost missed it! March 2nd is NEA (National Education Association) Read Across America day, which focuses on motivating children to read. The date for the celebration was chosen to coincide with the birthday of that childhood favorite Dr. Suess. (It’s ok, you can still like Dr. Suess as an adult. . .we won’t tell). I still can recall while in elementary school we had to write an essay on our favorite author or a poet or something like that. I really don’t remember the exact nature of the assignment, what I do remember was that my essay was on Theodore Geisel, better known as Dr. Suess, and I came to admire him not only as a children’s writer, but for all of his writing. It surprised and fascinated me that he also penned political cartoons during the war effort, in addition to writing illustrated books for adults. Just a few years ago, I was excited to be able to obtain a copy of The Seven Ladies Godiva. It was after the failure of this book to sell that Geisel is noted as stating that he’d rather write for kids because, “Adults are obsolete children, and the hell with them.”
In May 1997, a small reading task force at NEA came up with a big idea. “Let’s create a day to celebrate reading,” the group decided. “We hold pep rallies to get kids excited about football. We assemble to remember that Character Counts. Why don’t we do something to get kids excited about reading? We’ll call it ‘NEA’s Read Across America’ and we’ll celebrate it on Dr. Seuss’s birthday.” And so was born on March 2, 1998, the largest celebration of reading this country has ever seen.
While not being an official participant this year, as I just found out about it, I feel like I am hosting my own Read Across America event with my traveling book project, Where in the World is Misfit McCabe? I have sent eight special edition copies of my young adult novel, Misfit McCabe out into the world where the purpose is for them to be read and passed to the next person. It will be very interesting to see how far they go. My whole reason for starting this project was to promote reading. I loved to read as a child and still do to this day. I firmly believe that children who are motivated to read, not only do better in school, but in their adult life as well.
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