April 12 — 9:43 am, 2016

It’s Beverly Cleary’s 100th birthday. Drop everything and read!

reading K.W. Barrett | Flickr

During April, all across America, people are dropping everything to read!

Beverly Cleary wrote many children’s and young adult books, and in recognition of her contributions to children’s literature, the D.E.A.R. (Drop Everything and Read) initiative was established. As a child, Cleary struggled to read and didn’t truly enjoy reading until the 3rd grade. This experience impassioned her to make writing a career, which resulted in her well-liked body of delightful books. On April 12, in honor of Cleary’s 100th birthday, grab a book and Drop Everything and Read!


Word After Word After Word by Patricia MacLachlan is an eloquent and kid-friendly primer that can be used to build writing proficiencies in students from elementary age to early middle school. This book is a tale about the enchanting powers of words and how they are used to create amazing stories. When Miss Cash invites a famous writer to visit her 4th-grade class, things become magical as they discover their voices through writing about real and imagined experiences.


Brothers of the Knight by Debbie Allen, an award-winning dancer and choreographer, is a charming and contemporary twist on the fairy tale “The Twelve Dancing Princesses.” This delightful story is narrated by and seen through the eyes of the family dog, Happy. Happy woofs out a tale about Reverend Knight, a single parent, and his 12 spirited sons. A mystery has to be solved, and only Happy knows what’s been boggling the reverend, who can’t seem to figure out why, every morning, the boys’ shoes are “torn up, stinky, dirty, tacky, jacked up.” It’s not until housekeeper “Sunday, sweet Sunday” arrives that the mystery is resolved.  Find out why, instead of being pleased, Reverend Knight fires the housekeeper for solving the mystery. Although written for children in kindergarten through 3rd grade, this story will amuse children of all ages. 


Did you think you had read all the Dr. Seuss books? How about What Pet Should I Get? When their father says he will pay for Kay and her brother to get a pet, they begin to playfully search at the pet shop. There’s a dog … and a cat … but they can’t decide yet … which pet they should get. Small children seem to relish the opportunity to be independent, but, with a deadline and so many choices, Kay and her brother find it hard to make up their minds. Posthumously published in 2015, What Pet Should I Get? is a fun and fanciful tale written by Dr. Seuss for preschoolers to 2nd graders. It’s a great introduction to teaching young children about having choices and making decisions.


Pick up a book today so you can drop everything and read!


Robin Muldor is a children’s librarian with the Free Library of Philadelphia.


Brothers of the Knight
Dial Books for Young Readers, 1999
Ages 4-8 years


What Pet Should I Get?
Random House Books for Young Readers, 2015
Ages 3-7 years


Word After Word After Word
Katherine Tegen Books, 2010
Ages 6-10 Years


the notebook

Our news is free to read, but not to report.

support local journalism