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Another Day to Celebrate

Screen Shot 2014-03-02 at 1.32.40 PMSunday, March 2 is Theodor Seuss Geisel’s birthday and if he were living, he’d be 110 years old.  Dr. Seuss Day, also known as Read Across America Day, was created by the National Education Association to celebrate reading, and it began on March 2, 1998.

Geisel first signed his pen name “Seuss” on a cartoon that was published in the Saturday Evening Post in 1927 when he made a living as an illustrator and a cartoon artist.  His first book, And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street, was rejected 27 times before it was published in 1937.  But it wasn’t until 1957 when The Cat in the Hat was published that Dr. Seuss was recognized as a children’s book author.  I’m thankful he kept trying.

Some of his books are nonsensical and children love them.  I wore out Hop on Pop and Green Eggs and Ham reading them to my children.  As I whipped green food coloring with scrambled eggs my stomach turned flips, but Son thought green eggs were a fun breakfast.  And while he read the book, I cooked the eggs.

I’m not encouraging anyone to eat green eggs, but I hope that all children had someone to read to them.  As an educator, I welcome questions about how to help children learn.  It’s a three-word answer:  read to them. Whatever you want to read or whatever they want to hear.  Dr. Seuss said, “You’re never too old, too wacky, too wild, to pick up a book and read to a child.”  And, in my opinion, no one is ever too young or too old, too small or too big, to be read to.

How do you choose books that are appropriate for children?  Choose a book in the children’s section at the public library.  Ask your child’s teacher.  Search Google.  Read the classics that you read as a child.  Children quickly tell you which books they like.

My Grands have their favorite books.  The toddlers choose Little Blue Leads the Way, Go, Spot, Go, and books about trains or Curious George.  My almost five-year-old Grand’s favorites are Goodnight Gorilla, A Snowy Day, and all books featuring Flicka, Ricka, and Dicka.  My first grade Grand likes books by Mo Willems (her favorite is I Am In A Book) and the Little House on the Prairie books.  My oldest Grand is in a Star Wars phase so he chooses The Yoda Chronicles and anything about Star Wars – not my favorite topic, but I don’t let him know.  All he knows is that I like to read to him and hear him read.

Why read to children?  Dr. Seuss said it best in I Can Read With My Eyes Shut!  “The more that you read, the more things you will know.  The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.”   A quote that screams “Read!”  A quote that urges adults to read to children.

To celebrate Dr. Seuss day, my Grands might think me a bit wacky when I don my tall hat like the tall cat wore in The Cat in the Hat and read the book aloud.  But they’ll like the cupcakes, and I’m not telling them that the book has been around since I was a kid.

Dr. Seuss’s birthday.  A day to celebrate reading.

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