Drop Everything and Read

April 04, 2020 – April 30, 2020

Drop Everything and Read

This year, rather than hosting a one-day Drop Everything and Read celebration, we will be offering an array of book recommendations and digital programs throughout the month of April.

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Online Storytime

Dolly Parton

Dolly Parton will lead a 10-week special series of weekly videos called “Goodnight With Dolly” premiering April 2 at 7 PM. “Goodnight With Dolly” will feature Dolly Parton reading a series of Imagination Library books all carefully chosen for their appropriate content at this moment in time.

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Jessica Young

Local author Jessica Young leads read-along videos on her Youtube channel featuring her books My Blue is Happy, Play This Book, A Wish is a Seed, and Haggis and Tank Unleashed. Have your children or students get creative and make a reading corner decorated in their own style by following her instructions on how to make a reading fort. Find additional resources and printable activities at the link below!

Top Reads for Kids

Grab your favorite books, build a pillow fort, and join us in celebrating Drop Everything and Read. Here are some of our favorite kids books:


Drop Everything and Read Day

• A Squiggly Story by Andrew Larsen

• Why? by Adam Rex

• Stegothesaurus by Bridget Heos

Plants & Flowers

• Plant Secrets by Emily Goodman

• Sunflower House by Eve Bunting

• Miss Maple’s Seed by Eliza Wheeler


• There’s a Tiger in the Garden by Lizzy Stewart

• My Garden by Kevin Henkes

• Butterfly Park by Elly MacKay

Bugs & Animals

• The Bee Book by Charlotte Milner

• An Extraordinary Egg by Leo Lionni

• The Pigeon Needs a Bath! by Mo Willems


• A Color of His Own by Leo Lionni

• The Day the Crayons Quit by Drew Daywalt

• Mouse Paint by Ellen Stoll Walsh

Top Reads for Adults

We surveyed Cheekwood staff and local partners about their favorite books on art, gardening, history, and wellness. Check out what they have to say about their top choices!



Still Lives by Maria Hummel

Recommended by Cheekwood Curator of Paintings and Works on Paper Campbell Mobley:

“This mystery transports the reader into the museum world and into the mind of a contemporary artist. I absolutely devoured this book and the last 100 pages are so compelling.”

You Must Change Your Life: The Story of Rainer Maria Rilke and Auguste Rodin by Rachel Corbett 

Recommended by Cheekwood Curator of Sculpture Marin Sullivan, PhD:

“One of my favorite pieces of writing about sculpture is from the early 1900s: Rainer Maria Rilke’s short book on the pioneer of modern sculpture, Auguste Rodin. The young German poet went to Paris in 1902 to research and write the book. The result was not only some of the most beautiful, insightful observations about sculpture and the power of art to influence and shape our everyday lives, but also a formative friendship between the two men that would prove formative to Rilke’s career.”

August Rodin by Rainer Maria Rilke

“If you are interested in reading Rilke’s original text, August Rodin, multiple versions are still in print and widely available via local booksellers and the Nashville Public Library. There is also a free digital copy accessible through the Gutenberg Project.”


The Overstory by Richard Powers

Recommended by Cheekwood Vice President of Gardens & Facilities Peter Grimaldi:

The Overstory is enjoyable as the storylines are immediately relatable, just as you might have a favorite tree or easily recall memories of trees in defining spaces and experiences in your life. The author uses a natural analogy between the natural world and the human experience that celebrates life and helps to create a sense of connectedness that is so important in the world today.”

The Botany of Desire: A Plant’s-Eye View of the World by Michael Pollan

The Botany of Desire presents a totally unique perspective on the relationship between plants and people and uses a series of human desires to activate and interpret the evolutionary strategies of some of our favorite plants.”

The 50 Mile Bouquet: Seasonal, Local and Sustainable Flowers by Debra Prinzing

Recommended by owner of Whites Creek Flower Farm Laura Bigbee-Fott:

“This the book that inspired me to become a flower farmer. Debra Prinzing is a champion of local, sustainable flowers, and this book really helped spur the entire movement. The photography by David E. Perry is just gorgeous. You will fall in love with the flowers as well as the farmers who grow them.”

The Timber Press Guide to Vegetable Gardening in the Southeast (Regional Vegetable Gardening Series) by Ira Wallace

Recommended by owner of Cotton & Moss Kelly Savoca:

“This book makes it very easy to learn more about gardening in the region. It’s broken down month by month and shares what steps you can take to prepare and harvest. It includes various tips and resources throughout the book. Definitely check it out!”


Moving Rooms by John Harris

Recommended by Cheekwood Curator of Furniture, Decorative Arts and Architecture Katelyn Bennett:

“This book details the challenges of purchasing and relocating interiors of famous historic European estates into museums or newer private estates.”

Empty Mansions by Bill Dedman

“Empty Mansions tells the fascinating story of the mysteries of Hugette Clark, the Clark family, and their private estates.”

Nashville in the New South 1880-1930 by Don H. Doyle

Nashville in the New South uncovers stories of life in a modernizing Nashville during the era of the Cheeks.”

Wayward Lives, Beautiful Experiments: Intimate Histories of Social Upheaval by Saidiya Hartman

Recommended by TSU Assistant Professor of History K. T. Ewing, PhD:

“Wayward Lives, Beautiful Experiments is a thoroughly researched and beautifully composed praise song of the intentionally forgotten Black women who were marginalized, criminalized, and discarded as the nation marched toward modernity. Without their stories, the success narratives of others continue to ring as incomplete exceptions to the crushing restrictions governing Black life throughout much of history. Hartman’s book is an example of how to reclaim histories of Black people that render them as whole beings who are integral to our understanding of modern America.”


Journey into Power by Baron Baptiste

Recommended by Founder/Executive Director of Small World Yoga Liz Veyhl, ERYT-500:

Journey into Power is a wonderful introduction to the foundations of Baptiste Yoga – a dynamic, flowing style of yoga. The book and practice also incorporate an accessible methodology for leading an empowered life on and off the mat and simple tools for living your best life. This is a great read during these uncertain times and perfect for those newer to yoga!”

Anatomy of the Spirit: The Seven Stages of Power and Healing by Caroline Myss

Recommended by Outreach Manager and Instructor of Small World Yoga, Natalie Aulvin Thomas:

“I read this book a while ago (waaaay back in college) yet, I still go back to it for reference, especially recently. This book explains how our bodies hold onto events, circumstances and stress and it does a fantastic job explaining it. Being a yogi, it is so important to practice daily or as much as you can to rid and heal your body of toxins, stress, and trauma that so many of us face in our lives. This is a great book for bringing awareness to your health and spirituality, especially in these current times. I highly recommend it as it will also lift your spirits up too!”

Peace is Every Step: The Path of Mindfulness in Everyday Life by Thich Nhat Hanh

Recommended by The Yogi Bassist Jo-Jo Jackson, ERYT-200, YACEP, and Ayurvedic Wellness Counselor:

“This book is a wonderful guide for learning how to cultivate a little more contentment in your everyday doings by approaching life’s tasks with intention, awareness, and grace. It is simple to read and introduces easy meditation & breathing practices to invite peace and joy to your life.”

The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success: A Practical Guide to the Fulfillment of Your Dreams by Deepak Chopra

“This is an inspiring and short read on how to live your life in line with your dharma, or truth. This book will provide profound yet pragmatic advice for how to live in accordance with you highest intentions.”

In response to the government’s recommendations to avoid the spread of COVID-19, Cheekwood’s entire campus, including the Historic Mansion & Museum, Gardens and all estate buildings are temporarily closed. All public programs are cancelled through April 30 and refunds or ticket exchanges will be provided.

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