Celebrate National Read Across America Day with MEK!

Celebrate National Read Across America Day with MEK!

Celebrate National Read Across America Day with MEK!

March 2nd, 2024 is National Read Across America Day, and it’s also Dr. Seuss’s birthday! This holiday is all about celebrating books and nurturing the joy of reading.

With the launch of our summer catalog, we know students will soon be in need of a few summer reading titles for their tbr lists.

So, we interviewed our MEK instructors and staff about their favorite books from childhood to help you find your new favorite read!

Mrs. Ann Ahn, Head Academic Counselor

Favorite Book: The Magic Tree House series by Mary Pope Osborne

“This was my favorite book, not in my own childhood, but when I was a parent of young children. My children loved the adventures of Jack and Annie and wouldn’t let me stop reading in the middle of a chapter!”

Jaehee Ahn, Director of Academic Counseling Services

Favorite Book: Strega Nona by Tomie DePaola

“Something about a never ending pot of pasta always made my heart feel warm. Strega Nona was the grandmother I always dreamed of.”

Rachel Erwin, English Teacher/Dean of Faculty

Favorite Book: Somebody Loves You, Mr. Hatch by Eileen Spinelli

“One of my favorite childhood stories was Somebody Loves You, Mr. Hatch, which is an incredibly moving children’s story with excellent illustrations about a man who receives a present from a secret admirer and the feeling of being loved completely changes him. He later finds out it was given to him by mistake. The ending is so touching that it can to this day bring a tear to my eye.”

Tony Kim, Math Teacher/Dean of Studies

Favorite Book: The Harry Potter Series by J.K. Rowling

“My favorite book growing up was Harry Potter. Because I knew I was like him and would destroy the dark lord later in my life, for the world.”

Erin Doherty, English Teacher

Favorite Book: Matilda by Roald Dahl

“When I was a little girl, my favorite book was Matilda by Roald Dahl. I loved most of his children’s books, but Matilda especially, because I found the main character very relatable. Even though she had difficult things going on in her life, she was able to gain power by being an avid reader, just like I was.”

Ilayda Erdal, Associate Administrator

Favorite Book: The Polar Express by Chris Van Allsberg

“I loved The Polar Express because back in the day, we had a school trip to watch the Polar Express movie and they gifted it to us there! The illustrations are lovely.”

Jo Chang, English Teacher

Favorite Book: Little Women by Louisa May Alcott

“My favorite childhood book was Little Women by Louisa May Alcott. My fourth-grade teacher gave me a copy that I read over and over, to the point where I could recite entire passages by memory. I think what really resonated with me was Alcott’s touching depiction of sisterhood, as I myself am the eldest of three daughters. The character of Jo March, with her headstrong and passionate personality, was also deeply admirable to my shy, younger self.”

Nicholas Lang, Math & Science Teacher/Director of High School Honors

Favorite Book: Sideways Stories from Wayside School by Louis Sachar

“My favorite book as a student was Sideways Stories from Wayside School. As a fun episodic piece where each chapter focuses on a different student or teacher from an absurdist school where everything is backwards and is 30 stories tall instead of wide, it’s very easy to pick up and put down, reading each fun story at a time. It influenced my tastes and sense of humor for years to come.”

Iulia Boboc, English Teacher/Assistant Director of High School Admissions

Favorite Book: The Runaway Bunny by Margaret Wise Brown

“The childhood book that I remember most fondly is titled “Runaway Bunny.” It’s about a little bunny who chooses to run away from home, and his mother reassures him that where he runs away to, she will still be there with him. The illustrations are both beautiful and telling, with the mother’s image integrated surreally throughout the scenes of the bunny’s sylvan and maritime adventures. I didn’t think about it too much then, but I recognize now that the story probably resonated with me because, having had a relatively stereotypical immigrant childhood, themes of familial reunification and the omnipresence of a loving figure struck close to home. That, or the idea of a bunny adventuring in nature is just universally appealing.”

Karis Isralsky, Junior Counselor

Favorite Book: A Series of Unfortunate Events series by Daniel Handler/Lemony Snicket & Brett Helquist

“When I was younger my favorite book was Series of Unfortunate Events. I enjoy this series because the books were mysterious, dark and magical at times.”

Noelle Yoo, English & Science Teacher

Favorite Book: The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein

“My favorite childhood book is “The Giving Tree” by Shel Silverstein. It’s my favorite because I really loved the illustrations, and the way that the story would progress made me feel a mix of bittersweet and touching emotions!”

Jacqueline Gooch, Science Teacher

Favorite Book: Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak

“My favorite childhood book was Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak. It was my favorite book because as a child, I always liked making up stories about going on adventures to far away places.”

Karina Soto, Math Teacher

Favorite Book: The Junie B. Jones series by Barbara Park & Denise Brunkus

“I love the Junie B. Jones series because I related to the main character so much. As a child, I didn’t care much about my appearance. If I could, I would have gone everywhere in my pajamas and my hair undone (not even brushed). I was also perceived as rude, but that was because I was very honest and blunt. Junie isn’t a perfect role model and through the series she and I learned many life lessons.”

Chris Cullen, English Teacher

Favorite Book: The works of Judy Blume, Jerry Spinelli, and R.L. Stine

“It’s hard to pinpoint one particular favorite book from my youth, which evokes nostalgic memories of works by Judy Blume (Freckle Juice anyone?), Jerry Spinelli (Maniac Magee), and R.L. Stine (the Goosebumps series). Stine’s Goosebumps series, in particular, was a pop culture phenomenon when I was growing up during the 1990s. My friends and I couldn’t get enough of these supernatural horror tales, which Stine churned out, yes, on a monthly basis—the guy was a one-man book factory. Credit, too, to Stine’s marketing team and art department, as those books, always adorned with vibrant and gleefully unsettling cover art, were simply just cool to own.”

Justin Kim, Math Teacher

Favorite Book: The Alex Rider series by Anthony Horowitz

“One of my favorite books growing up was the Alex Rider series by Anthony Horowitz. It’s kind of like a teenage James Bond. I liked the thriller aspect of it, all the cool gadgets, and all the spy shenanigans that went on in that series.”

Robyn Neilsen, Senior Content Writer

Favorite Book: R.L. Stine’s Fear Street Series

“This was so hard! I had a toss up between the Ramona Quimby books, The Sweet Valley High series, The original Baby-Sitters Club series, and anything Roald Dahl (particularly The Witches). But the Fear Street series by R.L. Stine was a particular favorite because I loved creepy stories. These novels blended horror, romance, and “historical” fiction for a pre-teen audience that I couldn’t get enough of.”

Get Started with MEK

This National Read Across America Day, we want to celebrate the books that fostered a love of reading in our family at MEK. (And, of course, wish a happy birthday to Dr. Seuss!)

If you’re looking for a good book, you can see our teachers and staff have given you a lot of recommendations to choose from, spanning a variety of genres and reading levels. Reading is not only an important component in your child’s academic development but is also an essential life skill. 

This Summer, MEK has programs that will help your child nurture a lifelong love of reading and learning. Click here to download our free course catalog and see what we’re offering!

Register for Summer 2024 courses by March 31st to receive 20% or more off tuition.

Give us a call at +1 (855) 346-1410 or contact us here if you have any questions. Our team is happy to help any way we can. We look forward to hearing from you!

Robyn Neilsen

Robyn Neilsen is a Content Writer for MEK Review. She was a dedicated English teacher in the New Jersey public school system for 13 years and is passionate about sharing resources, content, and tips for students and parents.


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