March 2, 2014, marked the 110th birthday of Dr. Seuss (born Theodor Seuss Geisel), children's author and illustrator. NEA's Read Across America' has been celebrated on Dr. Seuss's birthday since March 2, 1998, to promote interest in reading. (This year, with March 2 falling on a Sunday, the 17th NEA’s Read Across America Day was celebrated March 3.) Originally created by NEA and Dr. Seuss Enterprises, L.P., as a one-day event on Dr. Seuss’s March 2nd birthday, NEA’s Read Across America has grown into a nationwide program that promotes reading with F-U-N activities every day.
After Life magazine published a report in 1954 suggesting that children were not learning to read because their books were boring, William Ellsworth Spaulding, the director of the education division at Houghton Mifflin, compiled a list of 348 words he felt were important for first-graders to recognize. He asked Geisel to cut the list down to 250 words and use those words to write a book "children can't put down". Nine months later, Geisel, using 236 of the words, completed The Cat in the Hat. It retained the drawing style, verse rhythms, and all the imaginative power of Geisel's earlier works, but because of its simplified vocabulary, it could be read by beginning readers. The Cat in the Hat and subsequent books written for young children have achieved significant international success, remaining very popular today with todays children and their parents who remember them fondly from their own childhoods.
When Ted needed to clear his thoughts or relieve creative block, it is said he often took an afternoon walk through his garden. Ted considered gardening and tending to his trees other art forms altogether, and his work in this “media” created a soft, pastoral setting in La Jolla, California.
|A rare 1957 photo of the Ted Geisel and his first wife, Helen,|
outside their La Jolla, California home.
|A statue of the Dr. Seuss character "the Lorax" was stolen from the|
oceanside garden of the Ted's widow, Audrey Geisel, in March 2012.
|The Lorax statue was returned to the |
Geisel estate in August of 2013
after a tip led the police to it's recovery
from thick brush in a nearby canyon.