First Lady Michelle Obama Celebrates Dr. Seuss’ Birthday by Reading ‘The Cat in the Hat’ to Local Students

By Matt Loffman

Mar 2, 2010 4:13pm

ABC News’ Karen Travers reports: First Lady Michelle Obama celebrated Dr. Seuss’ birthday today by reading “The Cat in the Hat” to about 200 local elementary school students at the Library of Congress. The students all sported red and white high hats, just like the main character in the children’s classic. Education Secretary Arne Duncan joined the First Lady at the event, which kicked off the National Education Association’s “Read Across America” celebration, held on what would have been the 106th birthday of Dr. Seuss, or Theodor Seuss Geisel. Secretary Duncan read “Horton Hears a Who,” another Seuss classic. President Obama declared March 2 “Read Across America Day.” The First Lady said that the members of her family are voracious readers and her daughters, Malia and Sasha, read every night. In fact, Mrs. Obama said, the First Tweens are allowed to stay up 30 minutes past their usual bed time if they are reading a book. The First Lady stopped her Dr. Seuss reading at one point and asked the children if they would “let a strange cat” into their homes. The students responded with a resounding, “No!” After she finished, the students all took a pledge to read more: “I promise to read, each day and each night. I know it’s the key to growing up right. I’ll read to myself, I’ll read to a crowd. It makes no difference if it’s silent or loud,” they recited in unison. Mrs. Obama took a variety of questions from the children after her Cat in the Hat reading.  “What is your favorite book,” one child asked?  Mrs. Obama said a few Obama family favorite are “Horton Hatches the Egg” and “Where the Wild Things Are.” Mrs. Obama said in response to another question that her favorite place in the White House is the Truman Balcony overlooking the South Lawn “You can see all of Washington,” she said, including the Washington Monument lit up at night, “And in the spring you can smell the flowers and the birds fly around.” “It’s one of my favorite places to sit when it’s warm. We can’t wait til it warms up,” she said. The First Lady said that sometimes they can see visitors to the White House and notice that they can see the family up on the balcony. “They’re waving and you try to wave back,” she said but noted they may be too far away to see. Asked about her favorite things to do, the First Lady said without hesitation, “cuddling with my girls, snuggling up when it’s cold.” She said that one of their favorite things to do is, when the girls come home from school, “sit on the couch and you know who comes and sits on us – Bo! And he lays all over us and is sort of drooling. It’s fun.” One student asked her how it feels to be in the Oval Office and Mrs. Obama said that it “makes you feel very proud” to think of the previous presidents and families that lived and worked there. She said the Obamas take their responsibilities at the White House seriously and want to “do good things while we’re there so we don’t embarrass our mothers.” FLOTUS Fashion Watch: Mrs. Obama was wearing a gray argyle cardigan sweater with a silver belt, pearls and black pants. -Karen Travers

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