Creating Lifelong Readers

MLT staffers share some of their favorite books in celebration of Read Across America.

My bookshelves have long been my favorite part of my home. Neatly stacked with volumes of novels and nonfiction, they are deeply personal, showing the places I’ve ventured in my mind.

Through them, I’ve hiked the Appalachian Trail alongside Bill Bryson in A Walk in the Woods, taken refuge in the Australian bush in Peter Carey’s True History of the Kelly Gang, drank wine and fished in the Basque country with Ernest Hemingway in The Sun Also Rises, cast spells alongside Harry, Hermione and Ron and taken countless other journeys.

Books provide readers an escape, a glimpse into places they can’t go—whether that be some far-flung destination, a war-torn country, or even back in time. My love for books was instilled at an early age, as I quickly ran through The Boxcar Children series, a slew of Caroline B. Cooney books and others like Katherine Paterson’s Bridge to Terabithiasome introduced to me in school, others sought and discovered on my own.

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Try as parents or teachers might, love of reading might take time, sometimes a different person or environment, to create that fondness for books in young readers. To help aid and guide those efforts, the National Education Association (NEA) created Read Across America, a day dedicated to instilling that love and appreciation in children and young adults. Started in 1997 and officially launched in 1998, the annual event takes place on March 2, the birthday of beloved children’s author, Dr. Seuss. It encourages children to read not just on March 2, but all year long, in the hopes of “creating lifelong successful readers,” according to the NEA.

National reading events take place throughout the country. To make reading even more fun, educators hold fun events involving reading, whether it be story time with a well-known individual, dressing up as book characters, or even reading to a beloved pet. In the spirit of Dr. Seuss, the NEA even makes suggestions for fun, quirky activities, like readers creating their own cute, kooky pet in their minds, as well as offering reading suggestions.

Below, Main Line Today staff share some of their favorite books in celebration of Read Across America.


A childhood book I remember reading and having was Shel Silverstein’s The Giving Tree. As a father, I read and gave hardbound copies to each of my three children. – JB Braun, Publisher

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My kids loved If You Give a Mouse a Cookie. They are now 20 and 23 years old. We use that expression to this day! – Susie Hartshorn, Account Executive

I came across Truman Capote’s In Cold Blood book in the “Adult Fiction” shelves of my local library when I was 10. My mother forbid me from checking it out. Naturally, I knew I had to get my hands on it. A few years later I did, and while I very well may have been traumatized at age 10, at 15, I was fascinated. Capote’s ability to capture the essence of evil in two men who committed unspeakable crimes is unparalleled. This novel has become one of my favorites. – Maria McGeary, Editorial Intern

My top three favorite books are George Orwell’s 1984, Pearl S. Buck’s The Good Earth, and Cormac McCarthy’s The Road. – Hobart Rowland, Editorial Director.

My favorite book is Love You Forever. It’s a children’s book that my mom used to read to me when I was a little girl. It goes through the lives of a mother and son and starts with the mother taking care of the son and ends with the son taking care of the mother. I still have it in my room, and I every time I browse through it, I cry. – Kelly Lyons, Digital Editor


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Local events:

Dr. Suess’ 112th Birthday
March 2
The Free Library of Philadelphia hosts a birthday party, complete with cake, games and, of course, stories.
1935 Shunk St., Philadelphia.


Happy Birthday, Dr. Seuss!
March 2
The Haverford Township Free Library celebrates Dr. Seuss’ birthday and Read Across America with craft stations in the library for young children.
1601 Darby Road, Havertown.


Happy Birthday Dr. Seuss

March 3
The Tredyffrin Public Library hosts a birthday celebration for preschool-aged children, with crafts and cupcake decorating.
582 Upper Gulph Road, Strafford.


Jerry Spinelli Celebrates Read Across America
March 13
Join beloved local author, Jerry Spinelli, as he celebrates Read Across America at the Elmwood Park Zoo.
1661 Harding Blvd., Norristown. 

Our Best of the Main Line & Western Suburbs Party is July 25!