Schoolchildren across the nation are not only reading their favorite books all this month during National Reading Month, they're dressing up based on the characters and themes from the stories.
A little boy in San Antonio, Texas, offers inspiration for children reading stories with a fire safety theme, like The Case of the Missing Smoke Alarms, or Sparky's Birthday Surprise on the Sparky School House website.
When three-year-old Noah Keck's parents asked him last year what he wanted to dress up as for Halloween he said he wanted to be a smoke alarm. His father, Chad Keck, was not surprised. “Noah has leukemia and spent a lot of time in the hospital when he was originally diagnosed and was also stuck at home and started noticing things that others might not pay attention to.”
He says Noah was initially afraid of the smoke alarms, but he and his wife, Zahra, assured Noah that the alarms were there to protect him.
Chad says these days, nearly everywhere they go, Noah–who is now four years old–points out the smoke alarms and asks if they have fresh batteries. Whenever they pass the neighborhood fire station, Noah loves to check on the trucks. They are either “sleeping” or out “helping” someone because of a fire.
Noah's costume was made by his grandmother. “He did go trick-or-treating on our street and the reactions were overwhelming,” said Chad. “Nearly everyone wanted to take a picture of Noah and his costume. Many said it was the best costume they'd ever seen.”
Chad says Noah is doing well. He's been on daily treatment for his illness since his first birthday, spending months in the hospital and since then has had almost daily clinic visits.
If all goes well, his treatment will be tapered off later this year. His parents say he has been an inspiration to many other children at the clinic.
He is also a little fire safety ambassador who found a creative way to spread the message about the importance of having working smoke alarms, whether for Halloween, National Reading Month, Fire Prevention Week, or any other time of the year.