Celebrating Dr. Seuss and Reading with My Children: Does He Inspire You?

Today is Read Across America Day 2012, which is celebrated each year on the birthday of  well-loved author Theodor Seuss Geisel, otherwise known as Dr. Seuss! This year, Dr. Seuss would have been 108 years old. It’s amazing to realize that so many children and adults around the world celebrate the work of this extraordinary man many years after he passed away. The books and stories he left to the world position us in a timeless manner to incorporate into learning the use of your imagination and creativity to generations of new readers, as well as important moral lessons. Sometimes, as kids I think we didn’t even know the books were teaching us life lessons. We just had fun reading them. Now, as adults so many of us pull inspiration from his poetic lines. We actually see as we have aged how his rhymes assisted in not only teaching us how to read, but in unconsciously showing us how to live our lives!

As I stated to my Facebook friends this evening, my kids and I read Dr. Seuss books for an hour and a half before bed tonight. My eight-year-old read to me And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street. I told her it is one of my favorites of all time by Dr. Seuss because it encourages you to keep using your imagination. She told me she learned that this was Seuss’ first book back in the 1930s (when nurturing the imaginations of children probably wasn’t high on the agenda) and that it was rejected 27 times by publishers before anyone giving him a chance. And now look at the empire of Dr. Seuss, living on even way after he passed on. He is the most well-known and loved children’s author of all time! This inspires me as an author, and in life overall, to keep pursuing my dreams and never give up.

Tim, my kids, and I celebrated Dr. Seuss’ birthday today at their elementary school and at our local library, the Ashland Public Library. In the morning we took our four-year-old to a party the library organized where she watched an episode of the Sneetches, who teach an important story of discrimination.  She pinned green eggs onto a big green ham, blindfolded. She ate goldfish crackers while listening to One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish.  She wore a cool Cat in the Hat hat and sang “Happy Birthday” to him. The two older kids dressed up as Dr. Seuss characters today for school. Our eight-year-old daughter was the red fox from Fox in Socks and our son was Max, Grinch’s dog, as the reindeer in The Grinch Who Stole Christmas. After school, we took all three to the library and they made cute little bird creatures resembling something Dr. Seuss might have created in drawing his various bird-like creatures. You’ll see the photos below. I thought each used their imagination and did their own take on the project. We watched the children librarians act out the book, Green Eggs and Ham, using props. The library staff did a marvelous job! They do so much to assist us in educating our children.

What is your favorite Dr. Seuss book? I know I have more than one! One of my favorites from childhood is I Had Trouble Getting to Solla Sollew, which alludes to the fact that the grass is not always greener on the other side. I know The Lorax is big since it has just arrived to the cinema, but I have always loved that story. What a necessary topic for today to help children learn how to take care of the environment around us. I love Are You My Mother?, Mr. Brown Can Moo, Can You?, If I Ran the Zoo and many more. I have fond memories of waiting every month for a new set to arrive in the mail. I poured for hours over the rhymes and art.

I hope you’ve celebrated reading in some form today too and continue to read with your children.  The proclamation from President Obama today for Read Across America day, I think, says some great things about reading with children. A portion of it states:  “The journey to literacy begins early and continues throughout childhood. Parents and caregivers can play an essential role in developing fundamental skills by reading aloud regularly, helping children explore new words and concepts, and instilling enthusiasm for language and storytelling. These first lessons help pave the way for a love of reading that can last a lifetime. As children move from the living room to the classroom, teachers, librarians, and families use books to reinforce reading proficiency and build critical thinking skills that provide the foundation for a world-class education. By working together to give our sons and daughters the tools for achievement, we lay the groundwork for growth and prosperity that will stand the test of time.”

I’d love to hear what you did for the day, what your favorite Seuss book is, or anything else about this topic. Please leave comments in the section below. I look forward to them.

“The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.” ~ Dr. Seuss,
I Can Read With My Eyes Shut!

*Please excuse the not so perfect cell phone photos!

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