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Cake giveaway, literacy events Saturday at Kukui Grove

  • Dennis Fujimoto / The Garden Island

    From left, Loraine Ballesteros, Karen Shigemoto and Gretchen Pascual of Hawai‘iUSA Federal Credit Union at Kukui Grove Center in Lihu‘e take a break Wednesday to show some of the 117 books that will be distributed Saturday during the Read Across America celebration of Dr. Seuss’s 117th birthday at KGC.

How big is a cake to celebrate 117 years?

“I don’t know,” said Eric Gutierrez, the operations director at Kaua‘i Bakery in Kukui Grove Center. “I just make the place go. Jea Laganina is the one who makes the magic. We’ll see Saturday.”

Melissa McFerrin-Warrack, special-events coordinator at KGC, said slices of the cake will be given out (while supplies last) as part of Dr. Seuss’s 117th birthday celebration during the center’s Read Across America event that takes place Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and spread out throughout Seussville in adhering to COVID-19 health and safety guidelines.

Keiki can register online at kukuigrovecenter.com to receive one of 117 books — a book for each year of Seuss’s life — that will be given away through the sponsorship of the Hawai‘iUSA Federal Credit Union.

“With the scarcity of centrally-located bookstores, this is the second straight year that Hawai‘iUSA has made it possible for us to celebrate reading by giving away 117 books,” McFerrin-Warrack said.

“We need to do the online registration so people aren’t here all at the same time. And when they do come for their free book, this is a reminder that face masks must be worn inside and outside the shopping center, and please observe social distancing.”

Read Across America, established by the National Education Association in celebration of the author of such well-known titles as “Cat in the Hat,” “Green Eggs and Ham and more, coincides with March being observed as National Reading Month, with March 2 the birthdate of Theodor Seuss Geisel designated as Read Across America Day.

The center will break from tradition because of COVID-19, and instead of having a celebrity reader, there will be a variety of literacy-themed events throughout Suessville, including visits by special characters including the stilt-walking lady.

USBorne Books and More has been a staunch supporter of Read Across America and other literacy events. They will be present with a book sale to benefit Kumu’s Cupboard. Children’s books and titles for all grade levels support teachers in classrooms and are available free of charge to teachers at Kumu’s Cupboard, located in the Kukui Marketplace area near the old Big KMart store.

“This is not a big-show event,” McFerrin-Warrack said. “There won’t be a celebrity reader who attracts big crowds, or the schools that traditionally perform with their students. Instead, we will be having music — hm-m, I wonder if they can do background Charlie Brown music — while shoppers visit the Imagination Station, where keiki are invited to dress as their favorite book characters and a chance to earn prizes. There will be craft stations and more before we get to enjoy the Dr. Seuss birthday cake.”

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Dennis Fujimoto, staff writer and photographer, can be reached at 245-0453 or dfujimoto@thegardenisland.com.

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