Happy “Read Across America Day,” y’all! Yes, it’s true. By presidential proclamation, no less, today is a time to celebrate books and reading. Why March 2? It’s Dr. Seuss’ birthday, giving us extra reason to pick up our favorite books and read today. Theodor Geisel was born on this day in 1904 (and died Sept. 34, 1991).
Pres. Obama’s proclamation extols the virtues of reading:
Cultivation of basic literacy skills can begin early and in the home. It is family who first instills the love of learning in our future leaders by engaging children in good reading habits and making reading a fun and interactive activity. Regardless of language or literacy level, every adult can inspire young people to appreciate the written word early in life. Parents and mentors can help build fundamental skills by reading aloud to children regularly, discussing the story, and encouraging children to ask questions on words or content they do not understand. By passing a passion for literature on to our sons and daughters, we prepare them to be lifelong, successful readers, and we provide them with an essential skill necessary for academic achievement.
So, what are you waiting for? Whether it’s a Dr. Seuss classic or a more recent favorite, we want to see your faces buried in those pages today. And don’t forget, it shouldn’t take a presidential order to crack open a book! Even the youngest children benefit from being read to.
Some notable events in the National Christmas Tree timeline include:
1923: A 48-foot Balsam fir tree is planted on the Ellipse and officially dubbed the National Christmas Tree. President Coolidge is the first president to light the tree.
1945: President Truman lights the National Christmas Tree for the first time since 1941, when America went to fight in World War II.
1963: The Christmas tree lighting is delayed for 30 days after President Kennedy is assassinated on November 22. President Johnson lights the tree and General Electric (GE) designs the tree lights and decorations for the first time.
1978: A new Christmas tree, a Colorado blue spruce, is found at the home of a couple living in York, Pennsylvania. At 15 years old and 30 feet tall, the tree is transported to D.C. and planted on the Ellipse. President Carter is the first president to light the new tree.
2010: Today the tree is 46 years old and stands at almost 42 feet tall.
President Obama may be the first U.S. president to write a children’s picture book. Written before his inauguration and just published by Random House, “Of Thee I Sing” is a personal, inspiring, and heartfelt letter to his two daughters, Malia (12) and Sasha (9).
Even though “Of Thee I Sing” is written for Malia and Sasha, the picture book is also a tribute to America’s melting pot history, heroes, and achievements. Plus, a portion of the book’s proceeds will be donated to a scholarship fund that will help the children of soldiers who have been killed or disabled. Watch a video below of the illustrator talking about “Of Thee I Sing.”