Read Across America Day–Celebrating Dr . Seuss’s Birthday

Dr. Seuss is one of the best known children’s authors. His Cat in the Hat series introduced children to a number of interesting characters including the Cat himself, Thing 1 and Thing 2, and the fish plus the two human children, Sally and her brother Conrad. It took him over a year to write Cat in the Hat—and it only uses 236 different words!

In recent years, the Cat in the Hat series has been pulled from many school libraries because of its perceived racism.

The Cat in the Hat, perhaps Seuss’ most famous character, is based on minstrel stereotypes. “The Cat’s physical appearance, including the Cat’s oversized top hat, floppy bow tie, white gloves, and frequently open mouth, mirrors actual blackface performers; as does the role he plays as ‘entertainer’ to the white family—in whose house he doesn’t belong,” says Ishizuka.

During World War II, he was a political cartoonist. “1941-1943, he was the chief editorial cartoonist for the New York newspaper PM (1940-1948), and for that journal he drew over 400 editorial cartoon.”

His friend bet that he couldn’t write a book with just 50 different words, and so, Green Eggs and Ham was born.

10 thoughts on “Read Across America Day–Celebrating Dr . Seuss’s Birthday”

  1. I did not know that and am pleased to hear that. Views change over the years and today we judge everyone by our current vision of what is appropriate. In the future, we may be harshly judged for our smug assumptions that today’s versions are the only proper ones.

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  2. None of us are perfect but that’s what’s now expected of us in this blackballing/PC culture. To be honest, I found his images of “Chinaman” and African, black-faced tribesmen outdated and very cringeworthy but think it’s an opportunity for discussion about historical racial stereotypes. But I definitely don’t think his entire collection should be banned because of those images. He helped so many of us to learn to read, he made reading fun and inspired our imagination. “The Lorax” and “Oh the places you’ll go” are masterpieces.

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  3. I agree with you. At this pointe, the organization that controls his publications has only identified 6 titles that will no longer be published. We’re rapidly getting to the point where almost anything will offend someone at some point
    Educating females offends the Taliban.

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