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Read Across America

Happy Birthday, Dr. Seuss! Your books have had quite an impact these past 80 years. Your wonderfully whimsical words and drawings continue to delight and inspire the young and the young at heart. You encourage us to “think and wonder, wonder and think.” We’re better off when we do.
Your message is clear, “the more that you read, the more things you will know.”
So when the National Education Association wanted to create excitement about reading, they choose your birthday for an annual event called Read Across America. Designed to motivate kids to read more, the first celebration occurred on March 2, 1998. Now, all across America, schools hold assemblies and guests visit classrooms to read aloud to the students. I’ve even heard that some principals have dyed their hair green. I’m wondering if any cafeterias serve green eggs and ham. Now that would be a scream!

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Name This Famous Person

Name an author/illustrator born on 2 March 1904, in Springfield, Massachusetts .

Need a clue or two?

1. Wrote and illustrated books for adults and children, and holds the rare distinction of having been number one on The New York Times Best-Sellers List for both nonfiction and fiction.

2. First children’s book, To Think that I Saw It on Mulberry Street, was rejected by 27 publishers before being published by Vanguard Press in 1937.

Still don’t know? 

Of course you do. 

It’s Dr. Seuss, of course.

 On the big day, eat green eggs and ham for breakfast. Unless! You can say aloud, “I do not like them Sam-I-Am. I do not like green eggs and ham.” Eat whatever you like I say. Just be sure today you choose a favorite Dr. Seuss book to READ ALOUD to someone special to you.

What better way to get ready for his birthday than by recalling important lessons he taught us in his wonderfully whimsical way?

A person’s a person, no matter how small.

 

To the world you may be one person; but to one person you may be the world.

 

Today you are You, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is Youer than You.

 

Why fit in when you were born to stand out?

 

              Be who you are and say how you feel, because those who mind don’t matter,

and those who matter don’t mind.

 

Stand tall and speak up.

 

Sometimes the questions are complicated and the answers are simple.

 

Think and wonder, wonder and think.

 

Think left and think right and think low and think high.

Oh, the things you can think if only you try!

 

It is better to know how to learn than to know.

 

You’ll miss the best things if you keep your eyes shut.

 

Oh, the things you can find if you don’t stay behind!

 

The more that you read, the more things you will know.

The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.

 

You have BRAINS in your HEAD.

You have FEET in your SHOES.

YOU can STEER yourself any DIRECTION you CHOOSE.

 

You’re on your own.

And you know what you know,

And YOU are the one who’ll decide where to go…

 

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Celebrating Dr. Seuss

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Let’s plan a celebration in honor of Dr. Seuss’ birthday on 2 March. What better way to honor this best-selling author and illustrator of children’s books than by re-reading our favorites? That’s a gift to ourselves. Although classified as children’s books, his topics speak to all ages through playful language and whimsical characters. Rare is the child or adult who doesn’t have a favorite Dr. Seuss book. What’s yours?

Dr. Seuss also wrote and illustrated books for adults. You’re Only Old Once! A Book for Obsolete Children, published in 1986, was the number one non-fiction hardcover book among The New York Times Best-Sellers for over a year. Oh, the Places You’ll Go!, the last book published during his lifetime, followed in 1990, and reached number one among fiction hardcover books. This is my all-time favorite gift for graduates. And anyone else embarking on a new adventure, whether life after divorce or a new career. Dr. Seuss reminds us, “You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose. You’re on your own. And you know what you know. And YOU are the one who’ll decide where to go…”

Dr. Seuss has the rare distinction of having been number one on The New York Times Best-Sellers List for both nonfiction and fiction. Not bad for someone whose first children’s book was rejected by 27 publishers before being picked up by Vanguard Press. And that was happenstance. According to Christopher Klein, author of “Nine Things You May Not Know About Dr. Seuss”, he was so dejected by the string of rejections that he’d decided to burn the manuscript. Happily, however, he had a chance encounter with a friend from Dartmouth College, Mike McClintock, who had that morning begun working as an editor in the children’s division at Vanguard Press. A contract was signed that same day. And to Think that I Saw It on Mulberry Street was published in 1937. Of that turn of events, Dr. Seuss said afterward, “If I had been going down the other side of Madison Avenue, I’d be in the dry-cleaning business today.” What a loss that would have been for generations of us who delight in the rhymes, whimsy, and wisdom of his books.

How shall we celebrate this occasion? Reading our favorite Dr. Seuss books of course! But that’s just for starters. We could add pureed broccoli as we scramble eggs and eat green eggs and ham. Or cut fish shapes from bread and make ourselves a snack of one fish two fish. Hmm, how could we make red fish blue fish? 

Searching the internet turns up more ideas than there are whos in Whoville, and Dr. Seuss Official Site,  is an ideal place to start. Parents and other educators will find a wealth of information and ideas. From there Hats Off to Dr. Seuss’s Birthday leads to birthday activities, crafts, and recipes. With all the choices, the festivities could last a week. You could follow Hats Off to Hats with a Dr. Seuss Photo Booth, sip Pink Ink Yink and snack on The Cat’s Hat Kabobs and One Fish Two Fish Treats. Play Clover, Clover, Who’s Got the Clover?, a Seussational party game. You’ll also find instructions for making The Lorax Planter, an activity ideal for Earth Day, and a recipe for Gooey Oobleck, a sensory play staple. The possibilities are plentiful, fun, and adaptable. Now’s the time to start organizing your best ever Dr. Seuss birthday celebration. Enjoy!

Dr. Seuss bannwer

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