TOTOWA, NJ - The Totowa Public Library held its annual "Read Across America Celebration" last Friday, in honor of Dr. Theodore Seuss Geisel's birthday, author of the beloved children's books, who wrote under his pen name, Dr. Seuss.
The evening, held inside the library's Dwight D. Eisenhower room, brought out an array of local borough officials, which included Mayor John Coiro and borough council members.
Also on hand for the festivities was Patricia Capitelli, superintendent of the Totowa School District, along with Michael O'Brien and Joseph Compel, principals of Washington Park School and Memorial School. Passaic County Clerk Kristin Corrado was also present, along with members of the Board of Education were also present, including the library staff, library board and Board of Trustees.
Members of the community also included the Passaic Valley Rotary Club and numerous families who gathered to read selected poems. Also making a special visit was Shadow, a therapy dog that takes part in the "Paws for Reading" program, where children can read books aloud to him.
Anne Krautheim, library director, welcomed attendees and spoke about the value of reading. AnneMarie Shapiola, children's librarian, also spoke about the importance of reading at an early age.
According to Anne Krautheim, the Seuss celebration has become one of the library's favorite events of the year.
"Not only does it celebrate Dr. Seuss, it also celebrates the love of reading and families," she said. "The highlight of the evening is the Totowa Library's tradition of a group read-a-loud of 'Green Eggs and Ham."'
Several students from the local school district were each invited up to the front in order to read aloud. She added that the younger children can also participate in the event because even though they are too young to read, they learn from repetition.
"They know the rhymes and can fill in the blanks," she explained.
Krautheim commended the leaders of the community for participating in the annual event, and thanked them.
"We're very grateful to them. This lead by example attitude demonstrated to the young readers of Totowa the importance and value of reading. Judging by the enthusiasm in everyone's voices, I think the collective group reading of 'Green Eggs and Ham' was thoroughly enjoyed by all."
The evening concluded with singing "Happy Birthday" to Dr. Seuss and eating cake.
"It doesn't get better than that," Krautheim added. "Nothing is more heartwarming than seeing families reading together."
Mayor Coiro added that the event is a worthwile and enjoyable one.
"All the kids have a chance to show how spending their time reading is a priority to them," he said. "You have to give them credit for getting up there and reading their books to everyone here."