Happy birthday, Dr. Seuss
Happy birthday, Dr. Seuss, “Think left and think right and think low and think high. Oh, the thinks you can think up if only you try!” Since the beginning with the Cat in the Hat and other memorable characters, Dr. Seuss has reached generations of children through colorful drawings and clever rhymes. On March 2nd, join the Highland Library and others around the nation as we celebrate all things Seuss!
Theodore Seuss Geisel was born March 2nd, 1904 in Springfield, Massachusetts to an author (mother, Henrietta) and a park system director (father, Theodore Robert). Theodore loved to read and draw as a child, but had no ambitions to become a children’s author. In a high school art class, his teacher insisted “you will never learn to draw, Theodore. Why don’t you just skip this class for the rest of the term.” Later, he would reflect on this moment stating “I’ve capitalized on my mistakes, since I can’t draw, I’ve taken the awkwardness and peculiarities of my natural style and developed them. That’s why my characters look that way.” Throughout college, Theodore would have many jobs including humor editor, and creating characters for nation-wide Oil company campaigns. Regardless, his goal as an author was to write serious fiction and humor for adults.
Theodore’s first children’s book came about from the rhythm of a ship’s engine on a cruise across the Atlantic. And to Think That I Saw It On Mulberry Street became the first book written and illustrated by Dr Seuss in 1937. The book was published by a friend from college after 25 rejections. Theodore chose to publish under his middle name, and mother’s maiden name, adding “Dr” in a flippant gesture to the degree he never finished and saving his true name for more serious works.
Over the course of his career Dr. Seuss would be awarded numerous honorary doctorate degrees and publish numerous stories before his work was interrupted by World War II, during which two of his short films would also become award winners. After the war, Seuss and his wife, Helen Palmer, moved to La Jolla, California, where he would return to and focus on his works for children. In 1957, The Cat in the Hat was published and began his long relationship with publisher Random House. The publishing company would later make Seuss the author head for Beginner Books, a subsidiary company focused on books for beginning readers.
Despite all the success that was to come, Theodore never let anyone believe that writing for children was easy for him.
Throughout his career, Dr. Seuss would write and illustrate over 50 books for children, 10 of which have since been turned into films.
Other works included 13 works that would be published under a surname, and 5 screenplays.
Join the Highland Sam J Racadio Library and Environmental Learning Center and schools and libraries around the nation as we celebrate the birthday of Theodore Seuss Geisel (Dr. Seuss) and Read Across America!
Friday, March 1, will be a full “Day of Dr. Seuss” as staff and community members share their favorite books by Dr. Seuss every hour on the hour in the Children’s Area. At 5 p.m. the party begins with crafts and activities for children of all ages, and the reading of the Highland Library’s “Favorite Dr. Seuss Book” as voted by our patrons!