Sunday, March 1, 2015

Celebrate Read Across America Day!

Read Across America Day is an annual celebration on March 2 that encourages people of all ages to pick up a book and read. It just so happens to coincide with the birthday of one of the world’s most beloved authors, Dr. Seuss.

You probably learned somewhere along the way that the real name of the author of such classics as The Cat in the Hat, How the Grinch Stole Christmas! and Green Eggs and Ham is Theodor Geisel. But you may not know:
1.   Geisel’s first children’s book, And To Think That I Saw It On Mulberry Street, was rejected over 20 times.

2.   He wrote an advertising campaign for a bug spray that became part of the popular culture: “Quick, Henry, the Flit!” spawned a song and was used as a punch line for comedians like Fred Allen and Jack Benny.

3.   He wrote the story bases for two Oscar-winning films: Design for Death (1947) and Gerald McBoing-Boing (1950). Two Grinch TV specials won Emmys.

4.   He added “Dr.” to his pen name because his father always wanted him to be a physician.

5.   He believed in luck. Geisel had decided to go home and burn Mulberry Street after so many rejections when he ran into an old Dartmouth classmate who was juvenile editor at Vanguard Press. He said, "If I had been walking down the other side of Madison Avenue, I'd be in the dry-cleaning business today.”

6.   When an editor at Houghton-Mifflin challenged Geisel to "bring back a book children can't put down,” Geisel, using 236 of the 250 words given to him, completed The Cat in the Hat.

7.   He won a special Pulitzer Prize in 1984 for his “contribution over nearly half a century to the education and enjoyment of America's children and their parents."

8.    He never had children of his own. When asked about this, he would say, "You have 'em; I'll entertain 'em."

9.   His books consistently outsell the majority of newly published children's books; his works have spawned eleven television specials, four feature films, a Broadway musical and four television series.

10.   Seuss, his mother's maiden name, is pronounced to rhyme with "voice." But Geisel didn’t mind the Anglicization because it evokes an association with Mother Goose.

You're never too old, too wacky, too wild, to pick up a book and read to a child.”