Dr. Seuss Day and Read Across America Day
We know this author as Dr. Seuss, but his real name was Theodor Seuss Geisel. In the 1990s, the National Education Association set aside a day to honor this prolific author. At the end of the last century, in 1998, this special day morphed into Read Across America day, this being Dr. Seuss’ birthday. Born in 1904 and growing up in Springfield, Massachusetts, he adopted his mother’s maiden name as his pen name and decided to forgo his dream of becoming an English teacher because he was encouraged to pursue a career in art.
His first children’s book was published in 1937, And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street. During World War II, he created political cartoons, resuming his passion following the war year with his first book, If I Ran the Zoo in 1950, going on to publish over sixty books. He and his first wife settled in La Jolla, CA; sadly, widowed in 1967, he said wedding vows again with Audrey Diamond the following year. It is interesting to note that, devoting his career to writing books for children, he never had children of his own, saying, "You have 'em; I'll entertain 'em."
Many accolades came his way but maybe his favorite would have been the naming of the University of California, San Diego’s University Library after him in 1991; the library is now known as the Geisel Library.
Maybe his most famous book, How the Grinch Stole Christmas, published in 1957 with the cartoon version in 1966 became a holiday favorite. This poor grumpy Grinch dislikes all the tinsel and glitter and gifts the holiday brings and decides to “steal” it away, slinking into the neighborhood houses, removing all the festivities from Whoville. Eagerly awaiting the rising sun to hear the sorrowful cries of the Whos way down in Whoville, unexpected sounds arose to the Grinch’s mountain top cave – the sound of joyful singing. With a heart "two sizes too small," it suddenly grows three sizes too large when he realizes that the holiday is not about “stuff,” but about love, caring, and compassion.
My favorite Dr. Seuss book is Horton Hatches the Egg. Horton the Elephant assures everyone, “I meant what I said, and I said what I meant. An elephant’s faithful, one hundred percent;” the goal I strive for as a care partner. What is your favorite Dr. Seuss book?