Originally created 03/03/00

Readings celebrate Dr. Seuss



Richmond County State Court Judge David D. Watkins didn't throw the book at anyone Thursday morning, but he did read from it.

"I will not eat green eggs and ham, I will not eat them Sam I am," read Judge Watkins from Dr. Seuss' Green Eggs and Ham to second- and fifth-graders at Barton Chapel Elementary School while participating in the school's Read Across America events.

Millions of people across the nation took part in the third annual program created by the National Education Association to promote reading. Events take place each March 2 in honor of the birth of Theodor Geisel, aka "Dr. Seuss," who would have turned 96 Thursday. He died in 1991.

Judge Watkins told the pupils that Green Eggs and Ham is one of his favorite books.

"When I was younger, I had a fascination with green eggs," Judge Watkins said. "On the one hand it sounded yucky, but if Dr. Seuss said it was OK, it must be good."

Sometimes his mother put food coloring on his eggs to turn them green, he said.

Other local celebrities who read to classes at Barton Chapel included Sgt. Jacqueline Turner, a public safety officer with Richmond County Board of Education; Mayor Pro Tem Willie Mays; Richmond County School Board Trustee Adna Stein; Bill Bass, language arts coordinator; and Gary Bussey of the CSRA Business League.

The Rev. Otis Moss III, pastor of Tabernacle Baptist Church, read The Cat in the Hat to Diane Hester's third-grade class.

Raising and lowering his voice to mimic the characters, the Rev. Moss asked the pupils to clap every time he said "cat."

After reading to the pupils, the Rev. Moss played "Simon Says" with them and asked their names and what they would like to be when they grow up.

The pupils rattled off professions, from police officers and teachers to judges, scientists and writers.

"It is extremely important to focus on reading and to interact with our young people," the Rev. Moss said. "We have some brilliant young people who just need a little encouragement."

Jessica Tucker, a fourth-grader, said The Cat in the Hat is one of her favorites.

"I like that one because it was his first," Jessica said, donning a tall red and white hat like the one the cat wore. "I also like Green Eggs and Ham and Yertle the Turtle."

Reach Faith Johnson at (706) 823-3765.