March 2nd, 2011
03:21 PM ET
WASHINGTON (CNN) – "I do not like green eggs and ham!" exclaimed first lady Michelle Obama Wednesday at the Library of Congress. No this wasn't the latest round in her mission to eliminate obesity in America but instead a push to get children to read.
Mrs. Obama along with Education Secretary Arne Duncan celebrated the 107th birthday of beloved children's author Dr. Seuss by reading one of his most popular books, "Green Eggs and Ham," to more than 300 elementary school children at a Read Across America event.
Wearing festive red and white stovetop hats, from another Seuss classic "The Cat in the Hat," the first through third graders sat in rapt attention as the first lady theatrically read her part.
President Obama issued a proclamation declaring March 2nd Read Across America Day. Mrs. Obama confided to the children that the first family reads all the time. "The president is a reader. We call him the fact-guy because he reads so much. He knows facts about everything," she said.The National Education Association sponsors the annual event and predicts more than 45 million teachers, parents and kids will participate through various events across the country showcasing the love of reading. Education Secretary Duncan urged the kids to read not only for their homework but for fun too. "If you become lifelong readers you can do anything you want to do," he said.
Joined by the Cat in the Hat along with Thing One and Thing Two from the Seuss tale, Mrs. Obama waded into the crowd of elementary school children, hugging many.
The children, from schools in Washington, DC, Maryland and Virginia, later were read stories from dozens of sports, television and media celebrities including Jessica Alba and Green Bay Packers wide receiver Donald Driver among others.