Dr. Seuss was born on March 2, and not only does that make the date Dr. Seuss Day, it is also National Read Across America Day. You can find printable activities for the occasion here.
Here are some facts about Theodor Seuss Geisel, better known as Dr. Seuss.
* Dr. Seuss coined the term “nerd.” The word first appeared in print in 1950 in Seuss’ book “If I Ran the Zoo.”
* Dr. Seuss was neither a doctor nor a Seuss – discuss. Dr. Seuss’ father wanted him to practice medicine. Dartmouth, his alma mater, awarded him an honorary doctor in 1956. As for “Seuss,” it was his mother’s maiden name and his middle name. He began using it after he was busted under his given name for drinking in college during Prohibition. When pronounced properly, it rhymes with “voice,” not “goose.”
* After he graduated from Dartmouth, he spent a year studying at Oxford, where he met his wife, Helen, who suggested that he should be an artist and not an English professor. He wisely followed her advice.
* The first book Dr. Seuss published was “And to Think I Saw It on Mulberry Street” in 1937. Mulberry Street is where his grandmother lived. Twenty-seven publishers rejected the book before one accepted it. Dr. Seuss went on to publish more than 40 works.
* His final book was “Oh, The Places You’ll Go,” published in 1990, before he passed away. The book sells several hundred thousan copies each year in large part because it is a perennially popular graduation gift.
* A new Dr. Seuss book has been found and it will be published July 28, 2015! It’s called “What Pet Should I Get” and was found in 2013 by Dr. Seuss’ wife and his secretary, when they were moving some of his belongings and the manuscript included illustrations, reports The Wall Street Journal.
* Dr. Seuss used just 50 words to write “Green Eggs and Ham” on a $50 bet with his editor, Bennett Cerf. Turns out Cerf never paid up.
* If necessity is the mother of invention, maybe boredom is the parent of imagination? Dr. Seuss thought the beginning readers Dick and Jane” were hopelessly boring. He wrote “The Cat in the Hat” with the intention of providing a more interesting alternative. Mission accomplished, sir.
* He won both the Pulitzer Prize and an Academy Award. He received a special Pulitzer Prize in 1984 for “his special contribution over nearly half a century to the education and enjoyment of America’s children and their parents.” Dr. Seuss took home the Oscar for writing the winning animated short, “Gerald McBoing-Boing,” in 1951. He also worked on “Design for Death,” a documentary that won the Oscar in 1947.
* Geisel worked for Standard Oil as a cartoonist and his contract was restrictive regarding what other work and writing he could do, but it said nothing about pieces for children. “I would like to say I went into children’s book writing because of my great understanding of children. I went in because it wasn’t excluded by my Standard Oil contract,” he told Dartmouth librarian Edward Connery Lathem in 1975.
You and your kids can read more about Geisel and his legacy as well as find other ways to celebrate Dr. Seuss Day at www.seussville.com.
You can find great quotes from Dr. Seuss here.
Sources: 15 Things You Probably Didn’t Know About Dr. Seuss from FW.com; 10 stories behind Dr. Seuss stories from CNN.com; and 5 Stories About Dr. Seuss from Mental Floss.
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You may also like: Ways to celebrate Dr. Seuss Day with older kids
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