Bookstore celebrates Read Across America


Children from the Kent State Child Development Center gather for a group picture at the second annual Dr. Seuss Read Across America event at the Kent State Bookstore on Wednesday, Mar. 2, 2016. The event featured a number of games and activities in celebration of Dr. Seuss’ birthday.

Julie Riedel

Kent State participated in Read Across America Day, a celebration of child literacy and the birthday of Dr. Seuss. The Kent State Bookstore hosted its second Dr. Seuss Read Across America celebration on Wednesday, March 2.

Children from Kent’s Childhood Development Center attended the event, ranging from two to five years of age. The celebration included games like Cat in the Hat Says, Green Eggs and Ham Matching Game, Pin the Hat on the Cat, and Stack Yertle the Turtle.

To celebrate literacy, Kent State bookstore employee Robin Spand read “Green Eggs and Ham” at story time. Children were able to interact with dogs through the Dogs on Campus program. There was also a real-life Cat in the Hat and Horton, played by bookstore employees Ellen McDougle and Olivia Hanks.

“It’s been great. The kids love it. They were really excited to see the Cat in the Hat. We read ‘Green Eggs and Ham’ in our class, so they were excited they recognized the book,” said Kylie Byers, a senior early childhood education major and employee at the Kent State Child Development Center.

“As a kid, the first book I memorized was ‘One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish.’ I just love Dr. Seuss,” said senior hospitality management major Darnell Griffiths.

Last year the bookstore celebrated by having lunch with the Cat in the Hat. Recognizing the limited number of spots in last year celebration, the bookstore changed the celebration to accommodate more people and encourage more interaction.

“I like Dr. Seuss. I think he’s fun. I enjoy this project every year, being able to invite the [KSU] Child Development [Center] kids over, to be able to be a little bit funny, a little bit odd and just celebrate that,” said Trade Book Department manager and Coordinator of the bookstore’s Read Across America event Nikki Dech.

Read Across America was founded in 1998 by the National Education Association (NEA) as a way to get children excited about reading. Libraries, bookstores and schools across the country celebrate Dr. Seuss’s birthday while encouraging literacy.

“The university bookstore will continue to put students first, big and little,” said Cesquinn Curtis, executive director of administration in the Division of Student Affairs.

The NEA picked the newly released Dr. Seuss book “What Pet I Should I Get” as this year’s Read Across America book. The Kent State bookstore hosted a “What Pet Should I Get” event on its July 28, 2015 release, so they instead celebrated Read Across America with a reading of “Green Eggs and Ham.”

“What Pet Should I Get” was published after Dr. Seuss widow Aubrey Geisel and assistant Claudia Prescott took the draft and sketches to be apprised. In Dr. Seuss’ lifetime he published 45 children books. He also influenced a change in children’s literature to make it more entertaining and easier for children to read.

“I like him because I think he’s really a subversive figure in children’s literature … Children’s literature has enormous power to convey all kinds of messages to children and Seuss’ is a very fun message and a very important message as well, and I also really like what he did for the early readers books,” said Marianne Martens, assistant professor from the School of Library and Information Science and member of the Reinberger Children’s Library.

Julie Riedel is a student life reporter for The Kent Stater Contact her at [email protected].