If you're a reader, you know the irresistible allure of a day spent doing nothing but reading. Snuggling up with a cup of tea on a rainy day with a good read, or basking in the sun on a bright afternoon with a book in hand ... don't you sometimes wish you could just drop everything and read?

The good news is that on Saturday, April 12th, you can do just that! Designated as National Drop Everything and Read Day (D.E.A.R.), it's a family-friendly reading event that will let book-lovers get their fill, and encourage reluctant readers to take time out and enjoy the act of reading, too. The event is inspired by the children's author Beverly Clearly, whose classic book Ramona Quimby, Age 8 features D.E.A.R. day, and on whose birthday the event falls. But you don't have to hit up such Cleary classics as The Mouse and the Motorcycle, Henry and Ribsy, or Ramona the Pest to celebrate D.E.A.R. Just take time out to pick up an old classic for a family read-aloud, or spend an hour browsing the stacks at your local library.

To get your child started, here are a few recommended books from the D.E.A.R. list that are sure to turn your child on to reading. Who knows, they may even want to drop everything and read for days, weeks, or years!

Ages 4 and under:

  • Amelia Bedelia's Family Album by Peggy Parish
  • Are You My Mother? by P.D. Eastman
  • Bigmama's by Donald Crews
  • In the Night Kitchen by Maurice Sendak
  • Pete's a Pizza by William Steig

Ages 5-7:

  • Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs by Judi Barrett
  • How to Eat Fried Worms by Thomas Rockwell
  • The Hundred Dresses by Eleanor Estes
  • Morris Goes to School by B. Wiseman
  • A Three Hat Day by Laura Geringer

Ages 8-11:

  • Dragonwings by Lawrence Yep
  • Freaky Friday by Mary Rodgers
  • Heidi by Johanna Spyri
  • Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson
  • The Westing Game by Ellen Raskin

Ages 12 and older:

  • Boy by Roald Dahl
  • The House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros
  • A Long Way from Chicago by Richard Peck
  • Shiloh by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor
  • Watership Down by Richard Adams 

Start a Series!

  • Artemis Fowl
  • The Borrowers
  • Chronicles of Narnia
  • Redwall Series of Unfortunate Events

For more information about Drop Everthing and Read Day, visit www.dropeverythingandread.com.