Every year in the first week of March, young children across the country gather in their classrooms or school libraries to celebrate Read Across America: an annual National Education Association program centered around author Dr. Seuss’ birthday.
For me, Read Across America Week was a comforting yearly event. I would read all day, listen to the principal read Dr. Seuss’ classic “Oh the Places You’ll Go” and wander aimlessly with my friends through the Bannockburn Elementary School book fair—picking out new books along with trinkets like scented pencils and bendy rulers.
For many Whitman students, Read Across America Week was an annual celebration for the love of reading that defined their childhoods. Whether their favorite books inspired them to pursue a passion, opened their eyes to new perspectives, served as a sanctuary from everyday life or introduced them to new communities, reading was a driving factor in the lives of the four Whitman kids below—and the lessons they learned continue to impact them today. Thinking back to their favorite childhood novels, here’s what they had to say.