Read Me Day

February 27 is Read Me Day, an event that was started in 1986 by Frankie DeWees, a teacher at East Hickman Elementary School in Lyles, Tenn. Its purpose was to celebrate the importance of reading. The event was called “Read Me Day” because students, teachers, and visiting readers were invited to wear a shirt, cap, or pin with a message on it so the children could “read the reader.”  Book’em, a nonprofit organization that focuses on collecting and distributing books to children and teens in lower-income families and providing volunteer readers to local preschools and elementary schools, made it a week-long celebration in 1990.

Today, I am happy to introduce readers to author Geena Bean. Abby and I reviewed her book, Come Back Dear Sun, a few years ago on this blog. Now, you will get a chance to hear directly from her why she thinks reading is important.

First of all, I want to thank Kim for hosting me on her blog today.  Thanks, Kim! Today, I will be blogging about the importance of reading. I can’t emphasize how crucial it is for adults to implicate reading with their children and students on a regular basis. Ideally, a child should be read to, or read on their own, for 30 minutes a day.

Reading books is such an irreplaceable gift because it allows us to escape into the imagination and minds of another human being. We get carried off to far away worlds and places we have never even dreamed about. We gain new experiences through senses and conflicts of our characters. There is no greater reward than to pass on the knowledge of the millions of books which exist within our world.

Currently, I am working with United Way as a literacy ambassador for a program called Celebrity Read. I’ve visited seven schools this month and I can’t tell you how gratifying this program is. The kids get really excited and engaged throughout all of my readings. Their imaginations are endless once you ignite their minds. Reading to them helps strengthen their own imaginations enabling them to become better educated and creative. It helps them develop a unique voice when they are creating their stories.

My current children’s book, Come Back Dear Sun, is a story encouraging kids to put away the video games, iPads, internet, and television controllers and run outside to play or read books instead. When our children’s minds are being stimulated for too long by video games and computers, they are losing out on their abilities to be unique and creative. Their minds and voices are being constructed by the screens they are watching. Instead, they should be actively playing and communicating with one another or getting lost in a book.

Come Back Dear Sun has a five-star rating on Amazon.com.

Come Back Dear Sun has a five-star rating on Amazon.com.

When I was a child, I spent most of my time in the library borrowing books or at the bookstore with my mom purchasing them for special occasions. I had an endless bookshelf of picture books and middle grade novels. My favorite books ranged from Clam I Am, The Cat in the Hat, Sleeping Beauty, There Was an Old Woman Who Lived in a Shoe, Caps For Sale, The Berenstain Bears, The Little Golden Book Series, Pippi Long Stocking, Matilda, Huckleberry Finn, Harriet the Spy, the Judy Blume series and countless others.

And the reading legacy lives on. As an author, I feel my writing has grown so much over the last two decades because of all of the books I have read. Currently, I read picture books, YA novels and regular novels. Reading others’ work helps to strengthen and lengthen the capacity of our mind and imagination. I’ve learned so much through captivating worlds and characters my fellow authors have created.

I encourage you all to read as many books as you possibly can. Not only will your mind be stimulated; some stories will even enlighten you. “The greatest gift is the passion for reading.

It is cheap, it consoles, it distracts, it excites, it gives you knowledge of the world and experience of a wide kind. It is a moral illumination.” ~ Elizabeth Hardwick

About Geena:

Geena graduated from Rutgers University in 2003 with a degree in English. She published her debut picture book, Come Back Dear Sun, in January 2013.  Since then, she has been visiting schools throughout New Jersey while giving assemblies and presentations for her author work. When she is not too busy visiting schools, Geena loves to volunteer for organizations such as the Boys and Girls Club and United Way. As an avid literacy ambassador, her mission is to instill the importance of reading, writing, and imagination within the minds of adults and children around the world.

Besides her author work, she loves rescuing animals (she has two kitties named Luna and Cheex), traveling around the globe, running in or outdoors, going to concerts, cooking, and snuggling up to old 80s movies like Beaches, Dirty Dancing, Footloose, Grease, Top Gun, The Breakfast Club … the list goes on. Geena also loves to listen to music and a lot of her writing is inspired by New Age artists such as Enya, Hans Zimmerman, Jeff Pearce, Darshan Ambient, David Helping and Karunesh. She is also a huge Bruce, Coldplay, Imagine Dragons, Stevie Nicks, Naked and Famous, U2 and Death Cab for a Cutie fan.

You can purchase Come Back Dear Sun from online retailers such as Amazon.com. You can connect with Geena on her website, geenabean.com; on twitter; and on Facebook.

You also can connect with Geena here by leaving her a message. She and I would love to hear from you!

4 Responses to “Read Me Day”

  1. Geena Bean March 2, 2015 6:12 pm #

    Thank you so much for having me on your blog today, Kim!

    I love helping to spread word about the importance of reading. We must all continue to work together to encourage young minds to pick up a book and let their imagination take them away.

    I love donating so if anyone is ever interested in working together to get books into the hands of lower income schools, email me anytime.

    • March 2, 2015 9:20 pm #

      Geena:

      Thank you for your blog. You are always welcome here. I look forward to more ways that we can collaborate!

      Kim

  2. Claudine @ CarryUsOff Books March 2, 2015 8:39 pm #

    Come Back, Dear Sun is an endearing book that will reach out to many, many young ones (and their parents). And Geena is one of the most loving blogger-friends I have. What she is doing for children from lower income families is very inspiring. Stories can take us everywhere!

    • March 2, 2015 9:26 pm #

      Hi, Claudine:

      Thank you for stopping by.

      I agree with you. Geena is a treasure for children and adults. The world needs more people like her!

      Kim

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