LUMBERTON — Children were enchanted on Friday by the words of Dr. Seuss, whose famous children’s books were read in elementary schools across Robeson County as part of a celebration of the author’s birthday.
“Dr. Seuss is very important to us because he made books to encourage us,” said Taje Floyd, a fourth-grader at Knuckles Elementary School. “It would be exciting to see Dr. Seuss in real life.”
Floyd and Madison Seely, a third-grader and student helper at the event, both said “The Lorax” is their favorite book by Dr. Seuss, whose real name is Theodor Seuss Geisel.
“It’s a very funny book. I saw the movie and the book is just like it,” Seely said.
“It has lots of rhymes that make me laugh,” Floyd said.
Published in 1971, “The Lorax” is a story about corporate greed and environmental destruction. The tree-loving Lorax wants to save the Truffula Forest from the greedy Once-ler. Once-ler wants to tear down the trees to make thneeds so he can get rich. As in most Dr. Seuss works, most of the creatures mentioned in “The Lorax” are original characters. There has been a television special and animated film based on the book.
Geisel, who would have turned 109 years old today, began writing children’s book in the late 1930s. His works have been made into movies, television series and a Broadway musical. He published about 50 children’s books, including the famous “Cat in the Hat,” “The Grinch,” “Green Eggs and Ham,” and “One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish.”
To celebrate Read Across America and Seuss’ birthday, dozens of volunteers spent time reading to children at elementary schools across Robeson County on Friday. Read Across America is an initiative by the National Education Association to promote literacy.
Among the volunteers at Knuckles Elementary School was City Councilman John Cantey, who arrived carrying school supplies, cupcakes and juice.
Cantey read for about 45 minutes to pre-kindergarten students who responded with laughs, giggles and questions.
“Our young adults, without the proper guidance, have been exposed to gangs and other things, that were in out community,” Cantey said. “If we reach out to a child at an early age, we have a better chance of them being a better citizen.”
Cantey said Read Across America gives students an opportunity to meet civic-minded volunteers.
“It puts extra people in the classroom and lets students know they are loved,” he said.
This is Cantey’s second year participating in Read Across America.
Other volunteers who read to children at Knuckles Elementary were; Joann Anderson, the CEO and president of Southeastern Health; Mark Morse, the owner of the local Chick-fil-A restaurant; the Rev. T. Shedrick Byrd, pastor of Sandy Grove Baptist Church; Lumberton’s Police Chief Mike McNeill; and Peggy Hester, technology specialist for the Public Schools of Robeson County.
One volunteer tried to decline the certificate of appreciation that Knuckles Elementary gave readers because, he said, “if you are truly doing something from the bottom of your heart, then you don’t need recognition.”
But Tabitha Kirkland, Knuckles Elementary School media specialist, insisted that he take the certificate.
“We go by the motto: You’re never too old, too wacky, too wild, to pick up a book and read with a child,” said Kirkland, who organized the event at Knuckles Elementary