Happy Birthday Dr. Suess! Read Across America

National Read Across America Day is Mar. 2, and with that comes reminiscing on childhood books that shaped us into who we are today. When I think of children’s books, the first name that comes to mind is Dr. Seuss. His books were a pivotal part of many childhoods.

Dr. Seuss was known for his ability to expand our imaginations in a way that not all authors could. While all of Dr. Seuss’s books are beloved by children, they contain messages that resonate with adults and can be applied to our everyday lives.

One quintessential book is Oh The Places You’ll Go! The book is about constantly changing circumstances, but always staying grounded to who you are. It also gives the lesson of taking control of your life. It is important to learn that staying true to who you are despite everything around you is one of the keys to success in this world. If you are self-assured, anywhere you go, you can make the best of it.

Another important lesson learned from this book comes from a quote, “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 guy who’ll decide where to go.” It is really difficult to remember all the good in life when you are down, so this quote is a good reminder of how you can control what you do with the tools you have. This book still has an impact on my life because of all the lessons it taught me.Seuss 2

Another favorite Dr. Seuss’ book is The Lorax. At the time, I was mesmerized by the abundance of colors and interesting illustrations. When I was young, I knew there were meanings behind the book that challenged the destruction of the environment, but did not know how deep it went. At my young age, I was more focused on the pictures and the rhymes.

The Lorax represents the animals whose lives are severely impacted by environmental destruction. It can be seen as the environmental movement, the forest personified.

Dr. Seuss’s intended message is pretty clear; it raises ethical issues in terms of the environmental impacts of our actions. Although young when I first read The Lorax, I could still see the overall message being against the destruction of the environment. The message itself never changed. What changed was how I interpreted that message as a child and as an adult.

The meaning of this book could not be any more evident in its warnings against environmental destruction.  We can all do our part and apply environmentally sustainable changes in order to prevent the planet from turning into the ending of The Lorax.

These are only two of Dr. Seuss’ books we are discussing, but if you try to find all the lessons that can be learned from his books, it would be nearly impossible. He influenced generations of children and installed confidence and joy in children and even adults.

These lessons have stayed with us as adults and are a great reminder of the control you have of your life. If I’m not happy with how something is going, I’ll look for a change. Even though change is scary, it isn’t always bad—and these books taught us that.