Community members star in Main Street reading series

Staff Report

PORTSMOUTH-While the COVID-19 issue hits everyone nearly everywhere imaginable, Main Street Portsmouth has been keeping downtown business owners and community leaders in the public eye by releasing a Dr. Seuss video series on Facebook, where folks read classics from Seuss’s long list of publications to children stuck at home, due to the virus.

“It is our small way of giving back to area kids who are missing social interactions,” MSP Executive Director Joseph Pratt said. “We are in totally uncharted waters right now, and nobody knows what to do, but we are trying our best to find little ways of making things better.”

The group has collected books from Bihl Office Supply, the Happy Pot, Rag-N-Bone, and the Mussers. The books being recorded include The Cat in the Hat, The Cat and the Hat Comes Back, Green Eggs and Ham, Horton Hears a Who, Dr. Seuss’s ABC, Hop on Pop, There’s a Wocket in my Pocket, Mr. Brown Can Moo Can You, The Foot Book, and One Fish , Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish.

The organization received permission from Seuss and Penguin Random House to publish the videos.

The first recorded video was of Main Street Board Member and Portsmouth City Clerk Diana Ratliff.

“I was very honored to have been asked to read the Dr. Seuss book to all the Facebook kid,” Ratliff said. “Main Street Portsmouth opened a way for leaders and business owners to help the community and we hope that this helps give a little break to parents and grandparents even if it’s just the length of a book.”

There have been many local leaders and business owners since. One of the business owners included Cinamon Wellington, owner of the Happy Pot.

“While the Happy Pot is unfortunately closed, we were happy to find some small way to inject joy in the lives of area children,” Wellington said. “We are used to bringing them through our doors to express themselves in our studio, and even though we can’t do that right now, we feel it is important to find ways to let their creativity flourish in this trying time and what is more creative than Dr. Seuss?”

The organization has currently released five videos on its Facebook page and has 5 more to follow. They may continue the series if they can get their hands on additional books.

“We hope this small gesture is a small highlight to area children and will continue to look for ways to make a difference in Portsmouth,” Pratt said.

In addition to reading children’s books on their Facebook, the organization is also selling gift certificates to nearly every downtown business and restaurant on their website. Main Street Portsmouth is a 501©3 nonprofit in downtown Portsmouth, with the mission of building community by revitalizing downtown. They host over 60 events this year; oversee a $30,000+ beautification fund; act as a voice for small business, and assist city and county leadership in building a Portsmouth we are all proud of.

Staff Report