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Reading can be a transformative activity in the life of a young child. The National Education Association started Read Across America Day to inspire kids to read. Every year, the holiday is celebrated on the nearest weekday to March 2, the birthday of legendary children's author Dr. Seuss.
In honor of Read Across America Day, some of TODAY's anchors and co-hosts have picked their favorite children's books. These six selections are must-haves for anyone with young kids in their life.
Jenna Bush Hager recommends:
Written by Academy Award-winning actress Lupita Nyong'o, "Sulwe" is the story of a young black girl who discovers the beauty in her dark skin during a magical journey in the night sky.
The powerful story comes to life with vivid and colorful illustrations by Vashti Harrison. It tackles complex issues such as colorism and self-esteem in a way that children can easily digest. Through Sulwe's journey, kids learn to find and love the unique beauty inside themselves.
Carson Daly picked:
Carson also picked a time-tested story as his favorite children's book. "Chicka Chicka Boom Boom," by Bill Martin Jr. and John Archambault and first published in 1989, is about the letters of the alphabet racing each other up a coconut tree.
The story of the letters is told to a delightful and rhythmic cadence that young kids will love. An audio recording of the book read by renowned singer Ray Charles is also available for listening.
Al Roker's favorite children's book is:
In his lifetime, Theodor Seuss Geisel — who went by the pen name Dr. Seuss — wrote and illustrated more than 60 children's books. So it's fitting that on the author's birthday, Al Roker has picked one of Dr. Seuss' most popular stories, "Green Eggs and Ham," as his favorite.
This classic tale about Sam-I-Am and his green eggs and ham is sure to delight any child with its engaging rhymes.
Savannah Guthrie chose:
"The Gruffalo" tells the story of a mouse walking through the woods. The cunning mouse encounters many terrifying animals but scares them away by inventing a creature called the Gruffalo. His cunning tactics work until he encounters the actual Gruffalo, the creature he thought he had made up.
The mouse uses his wit to survive in this captivating story. "The Gruffalo" is full of suspense and is sure to delight young readers.
Craig Melvin and his kids read:
"Knuffle Bunny: A Cautionary Tale" is a marvelous read-along book that kids of all ages will love. It is a story about the hilarious mix-up one dad makes when he is left in charge of the laundry.
The story comes to life through illustrations of the characters superimposed onto sepia-toned photographs of the New York City borough of Brooklyn.
This unique story is one that kids can enjoy over and over again.
Hoda Kotb loves:
Curious George and the man with the yellow hat have been delighting children since the first book was published in 1941. Today, the franchise includes books, movies, television series and more.
"Curious George Goes Swimming" is a recent addition to the original seven books published by authors Margret and H.A. Rey. It tells the story of the mischievous monkey as he teaches his friend Lucy to swim. George is very excited to spend the day at the pool, but he has to learn to follow the rules in order to have fun.
Hoda picked this story as her favorite children's book. It adds a fun summer twist to the classic character whom kids have been falling in love with for generations.
If you would like to help booksellers during the coronavirus pandemic, you can donate to the Book Industry Charitable Foundation here.
For more book recommendations, check out:
- 5 books to read if you enjoyed "The Girl With the Louding Voice" by Abi Daré
- Jenna Bush Hager announces February book club pick
- Host a book-themed party with these tasty recipes and decor items