Students at DeLalio Elementary on Marine Corps Air Station New River dressed up as their favorite book character and marched in the annual Book Parade, Oct. 31. As a way to celebrate literacy, students were encouraged to bring copies of their favorite book in order to discuss it with their friends.

“We wanted the kids to get excited about reading,” said Wyonia Chevis, principal of DeLalio Elementary school. “This time of year, many of the students are preparing to get dressed up in costume for holiday festivities; instead of having them focus on that, which excludes the children who do not celebrate those holidays, we get them focused on reading.”

Most of the children were very excited to dress up and show off their costumes to their friends.

“We all have really cool costumes,” said Joseph, 6. “I learned about a bunch of new books.”

“I had never heard of some of these books,” said Sarah, 8, a third grade student. “It was cool seeing who picked what. My mom wanted me to pick a princess book, but I am too big for princesses. I picked a spooky book with witches and goblins instead.”

Following the book parade, students and parents went inside for an award ceremony commemorating Red Ribbon Week, an alcohol, tobacco and other drug and violence prevention awareness campaign observed annually in October. During the week, students participated in several coloring contests for both school and Marine Corps Community Services, got to meet with a K-9 dog handler and sported self-designed mustaches.

“Each month, we have the children participate in a home project as well as a multicultural assignment here at school,” said Laura Hastings, multicultural special activities coordinator with DeLalio Elementary School. “This month we had the kids design a drug prevention sock in order to ‘sock it to drugs’ and the winners were announced on crazy sock day. The kids really embrace their home assignments, but I know they have been looking forward to today’s book character parade all week.”

“I had so much fun today,” said Joshua, a student. “I love school because we get to learn stuff, but we also get to have fun with our friends while we do it.”