For more than 50 years the rhymes, nonsensical phrases and playful illustrations of Dr. Seuss have captivated young children. On March 2, students at Lawrence Primary School at the Number Two School dressed in red and listened to his stories in celebration of what would have been the author’s 114th birthday.
The entire school week had been leading up to this celebration, according to Christine Moore, the school’s principal. Many staff members were wearing striped “Cat in the Hat” hats and shirts that read Thing 1 or Thing 2, while Moore wore a sign around her neck that read “Principal of All Things.”
“Our students are very excited today because we have guest speakers reading to them,” she said. “We’ve had local politicians from both the county and state level, some parents have volunteered and we have community leaders … We also are working on teaching kindness and respect for the guest speakers.”
Inside of Jennifer Twomey’s first grade classroom more than a dozen students sat enthralled by Toni Liberty, the children librarian at the Peninsula Public Library, and her reading of an “Oh, the Places You’ll Go” pop-up book.
Smiles and gasps filled the room as the illustrations sprung to life along with Liberty’s words. She had been moving from class to class reading to students.
Liberty sees this as a chance to bring more children into her library.
“I will absolutely take any opportunity to do outreach with public schools in the area, because unfortunately this is the group of kids that I see the least at my library,” she said. “Parents don’t have time, there are other things in the way, we’re not in the most convenient location for this school, they have to walk across 878. There are some obstacles, but I have no problem crossing the highway I will come here whenever.”
Jasleen Ramos, who turns eight later this month, and Arielle Romero, 7, both said that their favorite book by Dr. Seuss is the classic, “Green Eggs and Ham.” Both girls said they like to read, Romero said her next favorite book was “Happy Birthday to You” also by Dr. Seuss, and Ramos bashfully said, “I don’t think I have one,” when asked the same question.
The Number Two School collaborates with the Peninsula Public Library on other activities, including the summer reading program. “We have spent years trying to develop a relationship [with the library],” said Vicky Loweree, a reading specialist who helped organize the event with the reading teachers and Moore.
The school holds similar events in the hopes that it can spark a deeper interest in reading among their students. The event was held because, “It’s Dr. Seuss’s birthday,” Loweree said with a laugh. “We get to celebrate him and celebrate reading and literature and just the joy books can bring.”