Classrooms were abuzz with volunteers and books
The excitement was real, all you had to do was look.
They talked about acceptance, tolerance, and more
With smiles that filled the rooms, from ceiling to floor.
In some rooms cheers were heard when it became known…
That each child would get a book to keep as their own.
My apologies to Dr. Seuss! But, in thinking about all the activity surrounding Embracing Dr. Seuss’ Differences Day which was held on March 2, 2017, I couldn’t help but break into rhyme. Throughout Manatee and Sarasota counties, over 600 classrooms had volunteer readers arrive to share the wisdom of Dr. Seuss on what would have been his 113th birthday. The excitement and joy could be felt in every school. Many schools and classrooms made the day even more special with the addition of Dr. Seuss hats, costumes, stickers, and even cookies.
Dr. Seuss’ use of rhyme and whimsy delight audiences of all ages, and that combined with the serious messages in his books of acceptance, tolerance, and taking care of the world and each other, brought a depth of meaning to the connections between the volunteers and the students. Embracing Our Differences partnered with the Suncoast Campaign for Grade-Level Reading with support from The Community Foundation of Sarasota County, Manatee Community Foundation, The Patterson Foundation, and United Way of Manatee County to bring this special day to life. Research tells us in middle-income neighborhoods, the ratio of books per child is 13 to 1, but in low-income neighborhoods, the ratio is 1 age-appropriate book for every 300 children. In order to change that sobering statistic, students in many participating classrooms in Title 1 schools also received their very own copy of a Dr. Seuss book to add to their home libraries.
We are grateful to the hundreds of volunteers who shared their love of reading with children throughout the Suncoast region.
Embracing Dr. Seuss’ Differences Day: