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On Feb. 4, which would have been Rosa Parks’ 102nd birthday, children in Doreen Thompson’s second-grade class discussed what the activist had accomplished in the early days of the civil rights movement in this country. Activist and RoundTable columnist Peggy Tarr, one of the guests at Washington School during the kickoff of Black History Month, said she was “impressed what the kids knew about Rosa Parks, about keeping her seat on the bus and about civil rights.”

Ms. Tarr read “Cinder Elephant,” “Boundless Grace” and “The Chicken-Chasing Queen of Lamar County.” “The kids were enthusiastic – so bright and so sharp,” she said. “They asked questions that were really responsive to the books.”

“I had so much fun. I just love reading to children,” said Evanston Public Library Director Karen Danczak Lyons, who read “Looking Like Me” by Walter Dean Myers. “It’s fun to read together and share a book.” She said the children asked her about working at the Library and “how I knew I wanted to be a librarian.”

District 65 Superintendent Paul Goren, another guest reader at Washington, read “March On” by Christine King Farris, the sister of Dr. Martin Luther King. “There’s nothing more rewarding for me than sitting on the reading rug with a group of fourth-graders,” Dr. Goren said. “We talked about the March on Washington and about reading. … What’s lovely is to spend the time with children focused on the work that we want all kids to do, which is to read and analyze and be critical thinkers,” he added.