Community invited to celebrate Dr. Suess’ birthday

STEVENSVILLE — The community is invited to celebrate Dr. Seuss’ birthday and kick off the Spring into Reading Book Drive with an afternoon of fun, crafts and story time from 1 to 4 p.m. Saturday, March 3, at Martin’s in Stevensville.

The kick off event will feature a story tent with local storytellers and children’s book authors reading their published books, Lisa Micunek’s “Green Eggs and Ham” cooking demo, a cookie book station where children can decorate, and eat, their own cookie and frosting book page, and Dr. Seuss themed youth crafts and games provided by the Lincoln Township Library.

Admission is one new or gently used book to help kick off the United Way of Southwest Michigan’s “Spring into Reading’ book drive which runs throughout the month of March in celebration of National Reading Month. This book drive, in partnership with Berrien County Great Start Collaborative and Cass County Great Start Collaborative, seeks to collect 5000 new and gently used books through the month of March for area children and young adults. Diverse books are greatly encouraged.

The books collected will be distributed through home visiting programs in Berrien and Cass counties, area Great Start programs, Reading Treasure Chests in Cass County agencies, to provide book racks at area food pantries for children, and to add a “read up” component to summer “Meet up, Eat Up” sites in Berrien and Cass counties. “Meet Up, Eat Up” sites are part of the Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) from the USDA that ensures low-income children continue to receive nutritious meals when school is not in session.

Studies show that exposing children to books at a young age, and having books to read at home, is one of the best ways to develop children’s literacy skills. This book drive will get books in the hands of kids who may not have had access before and open a whole new world of words to them.

Children dressed like their favorite book character at the event will be in a drawing to receive a United Way kids prize pack. For more information call Ryan Cheevers at (269) 932-3546 or by email ryan.cheevers@uwsm.org. Book drive boxes will be set up throughout all area Martin’s Supermarkets, including Stevensville, Niles and St. Joseph, from March 1 to March 22. For a complete list of book drive drop locations visit uwsm.org/bookdrive.

Local authors will include Anne Brandt; “Philip & Phoebe,” Mike Struwin, “Campfire Stu,” Julee Laurent “Lola and Lazlo.” Also reading will be Mary Ann Ware from Lincoln Township Library, and Mary Andres from Well of Grace reading “The Book with no Pictures.”

United Way of Southwest Michigan seeks to fight for the health, education and financial stability of every person in every community. Officials said their goal is living united and forging unlikely partnerships, finding new solutions to old problems and by mobilizing the best resources. To join the fight, visit uwsm.org.

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