For the last six years, the National Education Association has honored the anniversary of the great doctor's birth with its "Read Across America" program, which encourages schools and districts to read some of Seuss' works in their respective classrooms. Some districts have people from all walks of life come into the classrooms to read to the students.
Since March 2 fell on a Sunday this year, the NEA asked schools to celebrate Dr. Seuss' birthday on Monday, March 3, which became the national day.
However, at Guttenberg's Anna L. Klein School, "Read Across America" became a week-long event, with different activities planned all week for the students from pre-kindergarten through third grade.
According to school librarian Pat Napolitano, the festivities began with the students being treated to a breakfast of "Green Eggs and Ham," much like those featured in one of Dr. Seuss' most popular books.
However, it did take a little bit of effort to get the toddlers to actually eat the eggs, which were colored with food dye.
"I'd say half eat them and the other half won't," Napolitano laughed. "Our chef made a nice cheese sauce to try to entice them to eat them. But we do that every year."
This year, school aide Chuck Hopkins was "The Cat in the Hat," and he spent the day entertaining the youngsters, even sitting down to have breakfast with them.
Superintendent of Schools Dr. Robert Penna read from a book called "Pinkerton" by Steven Kellogg, which is a book about a big dog. The book was especially chosen for Penna, because he owns an Irish wolfhound.
"Dr. Penna brought pictures of his dog in to show the kids," Napolitano said. "They were very impressed."
Board of Education member Julia Dunn also came to read to the students, as did many of the school's office personnel.
One of the more interesting twists had the sixth grade students of the school actually reading to the third graders, giving them tongue twisters and word problems.
Guidance counselor Pedro Garrido was able to read his stories bilingually.
While the festivities were taking place, the students were treated to viewing Dr. Seuss videos all day via the interschool television network, Channel 26.
"The kids get turned on to reading because of Dr. Seuss," Napolitano said. "They then go home and ask their parents to read the same books at home. The repetition and limited vocabulary of the books are easy to follow and it really sticks with them."
Much like the books have for over 50 years.
At John F. Kennedy School in North Bergen, reading supervisor Carol Bernasconi played the role of "The Cat in the Hat," and went to all the classrooms to read to the students.
"I think Dr. Seuss has done wondrous things with easy-to-read books with wonderful story lines that encourage and motivate the children to read," Bernasconi said. "We really put a lot of focus on reading in the schools. The 'Read Across America' program is geared toward children from pre-K through third grade, but our older students take the time to write biographies of Dr. Seuss. Our teachers also do follow up activities, with decorations to honor Dr. Seuss. The children absolutely love it."
Bernasconi said that there are three activities in the North Bergen school district. There's Children's Book Week in the fall, followed by the tribute to Dr. Seuss, and then there's National Library Week in the spring, when many of the township's dignitaries will come to the classrooms and read to the students.
"The children all love Dr. Seuss," Bernasconi said.
The rest of the country has loved him since 1954, when a publisher encouraged Geisel, who was writing humorous articles and drawing cartoons at the time, to a write a children's book using just 220 words that first graders would know. Geisel's creation became "The Cat in the Hat," and led to more than 50 other books before Dr. Seuss' death in 1991.
Just imagine what celebration there will be next March, when Mr. Geisel's 100th birthday rolls around. You can be rest assured the North Bergen and Guttenberg schools will be more than prepared for that centennial celebration.