READ ACROSS AMERICA
“You’re never too old, too wacky, too wild, to pick up a book and read to a child.”
What better way to celebrate Dr. Seuss’s birthday than reading to a child? On the evening of March 2nd (Dr. Seuss’s birthday), Random House and the National Education Association (NEA) urge you to participate in the second annual Read Across America and read to a child.
WHY CELEBRATE DR. SEUSS?
Dr. Seuss epitomizes a love of children and learning. Also, his use of rhyme makes his books an effective tool for teaching young children the basic skills they need to be successful. When we celebrate Dr. Seuss and reading, we send a clear message to America’s children that reading is fun and important.
We’ve compiled some materials to help you celebrate the day.
Please note: In order to view the printable activities, you will need Adobe Acrobat 3.0 Reader software. You can download this software for free by following the link provided here.
Theodor Seuss Geisel was born on March 2, 1904, in Springfield, Massachusetts. He published his first children’s book, And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street, under the name of Dr. Seuss in 1937. Next came a string of best sellers, including The Cat in the Hat and Green Eggs and Ham. His rhymes and characters are beloved by generations.
“Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind.”
– Dr. Seuss
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Theodore Seuss Geisel was born on March 2, 1904, in Springfield, Massachusetts. to Theodore Robert Geisel, a successful brew master, and Henrietta Seuss Geisel. At age 18, Geisel left home to attend Dartmouth College, where he became the editor in chief of its humor magazine, Jack-O-Lantern. When Geisel and his friends were caught drinking in his dorm room one night, in violation of Prohibition law, he was kicked off the magazine staff, but continued to contribute to it using the pseudonym “Seuss.” After graduating from Dartmouth, Geisel attended Oxford University in England, with plans to eventually become a professor. While at Oxford, he met his future wife, Helen Palmer, whom he married in 1927. That same year, he dropped out of Oxford, and the couple moved back to the United States.
Upon returning to America, Geisel decided to pursue cartooning full-time, and his articles and illustrations were published in numerous magazines, including Life and Vanity Fair. A cartoon that he published in the July 1927 issue of The Saturday Evening Post, his first using the pen name “Seuss,” landed him a staff position at the New York weekly Judge. He then worked for Standard Oil in the advertising department, where he spent the next 15 years. His ad for Flit, a common insecticide, became nationally famous.
Around this time, Viking Press offered him a contract to illustrate a children’s collection called Boners. The book sold poorly, but it gave him a break into children’s literature. Geisel’s first book, And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street, was rejected 27 times before it was finally published by Vanguard Press in 1937.
At the start of World War II, Geisel began contributing weekly political cartoons to the liberal publication PM Magazine. In 1942, too old for the World War II draft, Geisel served with Frank Capra‘s Signal Corps, making animated training films and drawing propaganda posters for the Treasury Department and the War Production Board.
Following the war, Geisel and Helen purchased an old observation tower in La Jolla, California, where he would write for at least eight hours a day, taking breaks to tend his garden. He wrote and published several children’s books in the coming years, including If I Ran the Zoo and Horton Hears a Who!
A major turning point in Geisel’s career came when, in response to a 1954 Life magazine article that criticized children’s reading levels, Houghton Mifflin and Random House asked him to write a children’s primer using 220 vocabulary words.
Dr. Seuss characters, text & images © and ™ 1999 Dr. Seuss Enterprises, L.P. All rights reserved.