Julia Santana met a new friend named Lillian, and they both made Sneetches.

Step by step, those Sneetches gained individual traits — hair, smiles, stars — but each Sneetch remained the same on the inside, and its value didn't rise or fall based on its external features.

The Sneetches were a major part of the Zachary Branch Library's Read Across America program honoring the life and work of beloved children's author Dr. Seuss.

Young Zachary library patrons gathered Saturday for a reading, crafts and snack time coordinated by children's librarian Michelle Camp, who donned a "Cat-in-the-Hat" hat while leading the reading and social event.

Julia's mother and little brother made a family outing of the event. Vicky Duty, Lillian's mother, said her daughter woke bright and early ready to participate. Both families were able to read together as well as share craft time with others.

Dr. Seuss books are among staple reading material for young children with favorite titles including "The Cat in the Hat," "Green Eggs and Ham" and "Horton Hears a Who." The National Association of Educators started Read Across America as a reading awareness program that would be held around the nation on or near March 2, the birthday of Dr. Seuss.

Theodor Seuss Geisel, who later used the pen name Dr. Seuss, was born in 1904 in Massachusetts. He published his first children's book, "And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street," in 1937 and became a world-renowned children's author.

The Zachary program included readings and a craft project based on the book "The Sneetches and Other Stories." The book's first story is about two types of creatures, separated by having or not having stars on their bellies. The Star-Belly Sneetches assumed they were the best and look down upon the plain-bellied variety.

Along comes Sylvester McMonkey McBean with his star-on and star-off machine. He gives stars to the Plain-Belly Sneetches, and soon they are happy, but original Star-Belly Sneetches are angry at no longer being different and special, so they remove their stars. There is chaos until no one can remember which Sneetches were originally what. The moral is that it really doesn't matter, they are all really the same.