By Rachelle Golde, Litchfield Children’s Librarian
As we move into the month of March, we look forward to warmer spring days ahead and think about the little flowers that will begin to emerge with all of their bright colors. Like bright spring colors, Dr. Seuss loved to find creative uses for colors within his illustrations and with his words as he authored many children’s books now thought of as classics. Read Across America was celebrated this year on March 2. Often, we associate Read Across America with Dr. Seuss and the famous Cat in the Hat. However, Read Across America is much more than the Cat in the Hat.
The National Education Association initiated Read Across America in 1998 as a year-round program to motivate children and teens to read through books chosen around a specific yearly theme. The themes are selected to motivate, excite, and teach children and teens about reading, as well as, teach the students about themselves and others who are different from themselves. The suggested books offer a diverse collection of children’s and young adult titles. While many still honor Dr. Seuss during Read Across America, the program is currently independent of any particular book, author, publisher, or character.
The monthly themes for 2020-2021 include: Empower Student Voice, Foster Inclusiveness, Activate Young Citizens, Celebrate Indigenous Peoples, Explore Identity, Explore Families and History, Practice Empathy, Cultivate Compassion, Inspire Stewardship, Develop Passion and Perseverance, Promote Respect, and Build Community.
The Litchfield Library has a list of books suggested by NEA for each of these themes for picture books, children’s chapter books, and young adult or teen books. This list is also available on the Read Across America website hosted by the NEA. The suggested titles for this month include:
- Picture book: Tiara’s Hat Parade by Kelly Starling Lyons
- Children’s chapter book: Each Tiny Spark by Pablo Cartaya; and
- Young adult: They Called Us Enemy by Eisinger Scott Becker
Anyone can celebrate Read Across America. Schools, libraries, athletes, actors, authors, illustrators, grandparents, parents, teachers, and kids of all ages can celebrate Read Across America. Here are a few ways you can celebrate:
- Read through the suggested titles provided by the NEA. The full list of books can be found on their website at https://www.nea.org/professional-excellence/student-engagement/read-across-america or you can Google Read Across America and easily find the website.
- Read a book with a child or teen
- Create your own reading challenge or book list that goes with the monthly themes.
- Check with your child’s teacher to see if there is a school celebration.
The Pioneerland Library System has many of the titles suggested within the book list by the NEA; however, if you cannot find one we are happy to help you find it at another library. Just ask a librarian if you need help. You can also check out the book display at the Litchfield Library.
Until next time, happy reading!