Today is Dr. Seuss’s 112th birthday! To celebrate it, the library celebrates Read Across America Day today as well. This event was created by the National Education Association in 1997 to “help build a nation of readers,” so it makes sense for them to use Dr. Seuss as a jumping off point for activities and getting kids to read because as President Obama said in his proclamation today:
“Through a prolific collection of stories, he [Dr. Seuss] made children see that reading is fun, and in the process, he emphasized respect for all; pushed us to accept ourselves for who we are; challenged preconceived notions and encouraged trying new things; and by example, taught us that we are limited by nothing but the range of our aspirations and the vibrancy of our imaginations.”
Plus if you are an adult reading to a child, it is just a lot of fun to read. As Dr. Seuss said “Or at least I think they are, but I might be partial to them as I’m a pretty huge fan and a Children’s Librarian at that. I have copies of Green Eggs and Ham (did you know there is a beat poem version of this?), There’s a Wocket in my Pocket (which I read to my son’s 3 yr old class last year on Dr. Seuss Day), and Marvin K. Mooney Will You Please Go Now? (which I learned today is apparently about Richard Nixon needing to leave office after the Watergate scandal) in my personal collection at home. Today the branch that I’m working at showed the movie The Lorax and did a craft about Truffula trees. The central library in our system has a Dr. Seuss event the weekend before his birthday and gives away 500 free books.
Here are some cool things for parents/caregivers to do with their kids. Here is a booklist of Teachers’ Top 100 Books for Children. I especially like this list of 50 Multicultural Books That Every Child Should Read.
- Dr. Seuss created Cat in the Hat because he was worried that children weren’t learning how to read. A publisher reportedly challenged him to “write a story that first-graders couldn’t put down.”
- Dr. Seuss won 2 Oscars, two Emmys, a Peabody award, and a Pulitzer Prize.
- He wrote Green Eggs and Ham after a publisher bet him he couldn’t write a book using only 50 different words.
- During World War II, Dr. Seuss created war propaganda cartoons. He also made animated films for soldiers.
- Dr. Seuss is credited as the first person to use the word “nerd”. He used it in his book If I Ran the Zoo from 1950.