Waiting outside Cleveland State Community College’s library doors Saturday were eager children and parents sharing talk and cheery smiles.
They awaited the start of CSCC Early Childhood Education program’s 11th annual Happy Birthday Dr. Seuss celebration.
“We are all about serving the community. The first year we hosted this event there were 50 kids who came and now we have more than 800. The Early Childhood Education students are really who brings this all together,” Bill Seymour, president of CSCC, said.
The event was brought together by 29 students from the ECED program in Suzanne Wood’s language and literacy development class and around 40 to 50 volunteers from the community. Among the workers were four special guest character — the Cat in the Hat, Thing One, Thing Two and the Grinch.
“Being dressed up (as Thing One) and seeing the smiles on the children’s faces is my favorite thing during this event,” Lindsey Prok, CSCC student and Early Childhood Club president, said. “This event is teaching me how to better work with and relate to children and their families.”
Born on March 2, 1904, Theodor Seuss Geisel, most commonly known as Dr. Seuss, has brought zany drawings and nonsensical verse into the homes of children for many generations.
This year’s event honored Seuss’ “ABC: An Amazing Alphabet Book” which was published by Random House in 1963. On the inside flap of this 24-page book is written “With Dr. Seuss as your guide, learning the alphabet is as easy as A, B, C.”
“A person’s a person, no matter how small,” Seuss would say. “Children want the same things we want; to laugh, to be challenged, to be entertained and delighted.”
As the parents and children flooded in through the doors of the library, they were handed goody bags and plastic eggs, some with door prizes inside them. Upon entering, every child received a free hardback Dr. Seuss book from the Kiwanis Club of Cleveland.
“I love how excited the kids are when you tell them they get a free book,” Sarah Copeland, director of library services, said.
The Kiwanis members handed out five different books from the stack of approximately 800 books.
Among the books were “One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish”, “Green Eggs and Ham”, “Cat in the Hat”, and both the classic and board books of “ABC: An Amazing Alphabet Book.”
“Kiwanis is about giving back to children and the community. Reading is one of the best ways to do so,” Traci Hamilton, Kiwanis Club of Cleveland vice president, said.
The children took part in various activities set up both inside and outside of the library.
Outside there were sidewalk chalk, tattoos, face painting, and “fishing for letters.” The inside activities included a reading corner room, letter writing, building blocks, music and movement, puzzles and games, decorating eggs, making hats, fishing for letters, a matching socks game and a balloon artist was present to give the children eight different choices to pick from.
“We try to come every year. My son, Jackson, enjoys it every year and they have a lot of activities for the kids to do,” Jessica McDonald said.
“My favorite part was this (pointing to the building blocks). I like building things,” Jackson Knoll said.
The Grinch was caught handing out balloons as Thing One and Thing Two took pictures with children and the Cat in the Hat ran around making children smile. Children of all ages went from activity to activity, wanting to join in and make new friends.
“I do this event for my class as well as for the children in the community. This teaches my students how to put on events and for the kids, it enhances literacy. It’s a win, win. We want to put books in the hands of the children and it brings children and their parents into the library,” Suzanne Wood, program coordinator, said.