On April 12, families and friends around the nation will be celebrating Drop Everything and Read Day! Today, families are encouraged to take at least 30 minutes to put aside everything they are doing and enjoy reading together. You may read separately or as a group, the important part is that you are reading!
This is a great opportunity for children to read and enjoy whatever books they would like, just for the pleasure of reading. Reread some favorite picture books from childhood, enjoy a chapter or two of your favorite chapter book, read from a book that your favorite movie is based on, or try a new to you genre! You can read a paragraph or page of a book to your child and have them read the next paragraph or page. Ask questions and make guesses about what will happen in the books.
The concept of “Drop Everything and Read” is referenced in the second chapter of Ramona Quimby, Age 8, and Ramona is the campaign spokesperson. The aim of this nationwide initiative is to encourage families to designate a special time to “drop everything and read” at home. So, on April 12, the 103rd birthday of Newbery Medal winning author Beverly Cleary, families should be encouraged to take at least 30 minutes to put aside all distractions and enjoy books together.
If you are looking for some recommendations to celebrate Beverly Cleary in addition to Ramona Quimby, Age 8, check out these:
Henry Huggins is the very first book that Beverly Cleary wrote. When she was a children’s librarian early in her career, her students (especially boys) had a hard time finding books with characters they identified with. So, she decided to fix that and created a character who likes to have adventures with his dog and his friend Beezus and her annoying kid sister Ramona.
Beezus and Ramona focuses on the relationship between Henry’s friend Beezus and her sister Ramona. This is the only book in the Ramona series that is told from Beezus’ point of view, but she plays a large role in the following books. There are several characters found in the Henry Huggins series that show up in these books!
The Mouse and the Motorcycle is about an unusual friendship between a mouse, a boy, and a much coveted toy motorcycle set in a mountain resort in California.
For some early readers, try Beverly Cleary’s picture books! The Hullabaloo ABC explores the alphabet, noises, and farms, while in Two Dog Biscuits, twins are on the search for a deserving dog to eat their dog biscuits.
If you are looking for something a little more realistic, Cleary wrote My Own Two Feet: A Memoir to chronicle her life upon leaving Oregon in order to go to college, the meeting of her husband, her job as a librarian, and how she came to write Henry Huggins. This is a charming read for anyone looking to learn a little more about the authors later life.
And finally, for our young adult fans. Dear Mr. Henshaw was awarded the Newbery Medal in 1984. This is a little darker than Cleary’s other books, as it deals with divorce, moving to a new school, and all the angst that goes along with being a teenager. Or, if you are looking for something a little lighter, Fifteen follows the story of a young girl who develops a crush on a boy and subsequently starts dating him. This book captures the innocence of first crushes and young love.
Beverly Cleary has so many more books to discover, so drop by any of our EVPL locations to find a new favorite or revisit an old one!
Don’t forget to Drop Everything and Read on April 12!