March 2, 2012, is Read Across America Day. Every day is a wonderful day for reading, but this is a whole day dedicated to celebrate reading. The National Education Association wanted to get children excited about reading, so they picked the birthday of beloved children’s author, Dr. Seuss. Across America, you’ll discover individuals at schools, libraries, hospitals, bookstores, community centers, and homes celebrating the love of reading. Many schools even have all day reading events! So, grab your favorite Dr. Seuss book or any book and make a memorable day reading with any child young or old!
This year’s extra special, since Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax releases on March 2, 2012. Many reading themes are green to read for trees. Here is the trailer for The Lorax:
“The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.”
― Dr. Seuss, I Can Read With My Eyes Shut!
Read Across America Poem:
You’re never too old, too wacky, too wild,
To pick up a book and read with a child.
You’re never too busy, too cool, or too hot,
To pick up a book and share what you’ve got.
In schools and communities,
Let’s gather around,
Let’s pick up a book,
Let’s pass it around.There are kids all around you,
Kids who will need
Someone to hug,
Someone to read.
Come join us March 2nd
Your own special way
And make this America’s
Read to Kids Day.
Get out there & READ!
I previously posted this video, but I love how you really can go anywhere when you read!
Tara & Bella: The Elephant and Dog Who Became Best Friends
Written by Carol Buckley
Photographs by Carol Buckley
Published: 2009 by Putnam Juvenile
All Ages, 32 pages
Topics: friendship, animals
If you haven’t already heard about this unlikely friendship then this will surely make you smile, even though there’s a sad mention in this post. Tarra performed in the circus as the only roller skating elephant. In 1995, Tarra came to the Elephant Sanctuary in Tennessee. Unlike a zoo where animals remain in cages, the elephants in the wildlife sanctuary roam freely throughout 2,700 acres. All the elephants except for Tarra found an elephant companion. However, that changed when Tarra awoke to find a stray dog next to her. Soon Tarra and Bella went everywhere together. One day, a caregiver found Bella injured in the grass and was taken to the vet. It was unsure whether Bella would be able to walk again, since she had a spinal cord injury. Every day Tarra remained in the same spot waiting for her friend and finally searched to find Bella. Tarra waited outside for her friend while Bella rested. When Bella discovered that Tarra was outside, she attempted to run to the window. Finally, the caretakers realized that the two desperately wanted to see each other so they carried Bella to reunite with Tarra. Tarra welcomed Bella with gentle elephant trunk pets. Tara returned each day until Bella was well enough to roam. Sadly, Bella died in October 2011. The friendship between an elephant and dog prove that we can look beyond any differences and understand each other. The back of the book provides information about the Elephant Sanctuary.
The Elephant Sanctuary Information
José Feliciano’s Feliz Navidad
written and illustrated by David Diaz
song lyrics by José Feliciano
All Ages, 28 pages
I was excited when I discovered this book at the library, since “Feliz Navidad” is one of my favorite Christmas Songs. (Go ahead and click the video to listen while you read.) In the book, José Feliciano’s Feliz Navidad the reader almost sings along as the lyrics are slowly written on the pages. José Feliciano was born in Puerto Rico and moved to New York at a young age. He wrote “Feliz Navidad” when he was homesick during the Christmas season. Feliciano was born blind, but that didn’t stop this songwriter who won six Grammy Awards with more than sixty-five albums. The book describes a parranda that is a Christmas tradition in Puerto Rico. A parranda is basically a caroling parade when neighbors and friends surprise each other from house to house with small instruments. The festive parade lasts hours and moves through the neighborhood with singing, dancing, and food. At the end, there is a huge feast and cookout often with a roasted pig that brings everyone together. The book was very colorful and festive, which is appropriate for such an upbeat Christmas song.
You can travel the world and never leave your chair when you read a book.
― Sherry K. Plummer
I posted this video already, but I really think it demonstrates the power of reading and that it can take you anywhere.
I saw this Family Circus comic strip and it made me smile. Along his reading journeys he meets The Cat in the Hat, Harry Potter, Huckleberry Finn, and a brave knight. The last comment he states:
Books let me go anywhere in the world to meet lots of people while I’m warm and cozy here in my own bed.
Reading books can take you anywhere your heart desires. Open the pages and you may follow Alice through the rabbit hole, play quidditch at Hogwarts, taste creations at a chocolate factory, unlock hidden secrets, challenge others to a duel, soar around the world, explore the sea, and travel to the past or future. So get comfy in your favorite reading spot and open the pages into a new world.
I already posted this video, but it fits that books can take you anywhere.
I found these videos on http://www.read.gov which is sponsored through the Library of Congress. These videos captured how reading inspires children and that it can take you anywhere from Hogwarts, Naria, Camelot, to Oz. Watch and share with others.
The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind: Creating Currents of electricity and hope
by William Kamkwamba and Brian Mealer
Non-fiction, 288 pages
I really enjoyed this book and thought it was inspirational. The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind was the selected book during the Tacoma Reads Together Program which started briefly after 9/11. The purpose was to bring the community together through events that hopefully lead into discussion. Other cities also began similar programs. I was lucky enough to attend a book talk with the author.
William Kamkwamba grew up in a small village in the struggling country of Malawi. Malawi is an African country known for its poverty, high prevalence of HIV/AIDS, food shortage, low life expectancy, and based with an agriculture economy. The book describes a boy who wanted to improve his family and village. Kamkwamba was forced to drop out of school, since his parents couldn’t pay the tuition. However, this didn’t stop him from learning and he constantly visited the library. There was a major food crisis and the book went into detail about death and daily struggles that people went through to get food. Kamkwamba was only 14 when he stumbled upon a book about electricity from wind power. Malawi’s strong wind charged Kamkwamba to design a windmill to harness the wind to provide electricity. Nobody understood what he was doing and thought he was going crazy, but nothing stopped him. He finally designed his windmill with various scrap metal, including a bicycle, and was able to light a bulb and power a radio. Journalist noticed the success and Kamkwamba gained positive recognition and traveled to the United States to share his story. He continues building windmills to help his village with water for irrigation and electricity. I highly recommend this book for everyone.
There are so many times when individuals may want to give up or become discouraged from struggles. Kamkwamba’s story was so inspirational and moving even when others continually told him that he was wasting his time. They told him he was wasting his time, because others didn’t understand his vision. His simple windmill vision improved his village. Keep your vision alive and strive through life’s challenges.
William Kamkwamba’s message: If you want to do it, all you have to do is try.