Students at Belmont-Runyon School kicked off Read Across American Day in the sweetest way – with a surprise visit from "Cake Boss" star Buddy Valastro, who unveiled a colorful cake created just for the Newark school.
Donning tall, red and white-striped hats, dozens of young students honored the late Dr. Seuss on his birthday Friday during the day that celebrates reading nationwide. Students received a slice of the cake, delivered from the famed Carlos Bakery in Hoboken, and a choice of three books through the initiative "My Very Own Library."
"If you work hard, read and reach for your goals, you can accomplish anything," said Valastro, who credited the students as inspiration for his creative confection.
The presentation of the elaborate cake was filmed for TLC's hit show "Cake Boss" and will be officially revealed at a later date.
Founded by native Newarker and librarian Anne Feeley, and funded in part by Foundation for Newark's Future, "My Very Own Library" donated books to roughly 5,200 Newark Public Schools students across eight schools Friday. Each participating student will receive a total of 10 books by the end of the school year.
"There's nothing better than a book," said Feeley, who traveled from England for the special event.
Students also enjoyed a performance about the life of Dr. Seuss, whose real name is Theodor Seuss Geisel, and a video of Belmont-Runyon staff members reading his well-known book, "Oh, the Places You'll Go!"
Superintendent Cami Anderson and Mayor Cory Booker, along with Walter Dean Myers, the national ambassador for Young People's Literature, and award-winning authors Erica S. Perl, Audrey Vernick and George O'Connor, were also on hand to celebrate Read Across America Day.
"When you share the love of reading, the gift keeps on giving," said Booker.