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Pining for the past: Dr. Seuss
Remember when reading was fun? More specifically, when words rhymed and we went on adventures with Sam-I-Am, Thing One and Thing Two, and Little Cindy-Lou Who? Every year on March 2, elementary schools all around the country dedicate time for reading the classic works of Dr. Seuss.
National Read Across America Day, more commonly known as Dr. Seuss Day, is intended to encourage young readers and celebrate books. It falls on March 2 in honor of Theodor Seuss Geisel’s birthday. The Springfield, Massachusetts native was born in 1904 and passed away 1991, and his hometown memorial is only a one-hour drive from Hamden. The author published and illustrated over 40 children’s books during his lifetime.
Several Quinnipiac students have fond memories of Dr. Seuss Day. Both Claudia LaMadrid, a freshman marketing major, and Tyler Mowers, a sophomore history major, recalled reading his books in class.
“We would come in our pajamas, so it would be Pajama Day, too, and we would just read books,” LaMadrid said.
She and Mowers both recalled “Green Eggs and Ham” as a favorite.
“My mom would read [it] to my brother and me all the time,” Mowers said.
Amanda McCormack, a junior English major, remembers this book as well.
“The first book I ever read from start to finish was ‘Green Eggs and Ham,’” she said. “Dr. Seuss was the epitome of my elementary school reading experience.”
This Wednesday, several Quinnipiac organizations will be headed into Hamden classrooms and other schools in the surrounding area. Three of these organizations are the Quinnipiac Future Teachers Organization (QFTO), Pi Beta Phi and Sigma Phi Epsilon.
McCormack, a member of QFTO and MAT student, is one of the students that will be visiting classrooms. She says they will read and do an activity with the young students.
“It gets really cute,” she said. “Many of us are thinking about wearing Dr. Seuss hats.”
Sami Paradee, a sophomore e-board member of both QFTO and Pi Beta Phi, played an essential role in reaching out to schools and organizing the Dr. Seuss Day efforts.
“The teachers in all of the schools are very excited about it, and so are the QU students,” she said. “Because I’m involved in both [organizations], it really means a lot to see us working together.”
Not all students will be visiting schools, but this doesn’t mean Dr. Seuss is no longer relevant to them.
“I think Dr. Seuss is a pretty amazing man in general,” Mowers said. “His books weren’t the typical books. He taught poetry and rhyming, which in my mind is pretty essential because I like to write songs sometimes.”
Seuss’s life and accomplishments can speak to college students in other ways, too. His first book, “And To Think I Saw It On Mulberry Street,” was rejected nearly 30 times before being accepted for publication, according to Seussville.com. There is no doubt that some of us will face similar challenges in our careers, but we can work to emulate his perseverance.
Some Dr. Seuss books contain deeper messages than we may have noticed as kids. For example, “The Sneetches” discusses racial discrimination, and “The Lorax” contains overt concerns for the environment. “Horton Hears a Who” promotes equality, though some groups have interpreted the line “A person’s a person, no matter how small” as a pro-life message, according to reporting by several groups, including ABC. Seuss denied connection with the latter interpretation, however.
McCormack didn’t originally notice some of these messages in Dr. Seuss’s books, but she seemed to find them interesting.
“They really explain why Dr. Seuss has been around for so many generations,” she said.
Many of you graduating this semester will receive a copy of “Oh, The Places You’ll Go!,” the last book Seuss ever published. This is his top-selling book to this day, with over 10 million copies sold, according to CNN. Having this youthful reminder of some of the earliest books you read displayed beside your college degree could be fun. McCormack added that this book was referenced through her high school career as a type of “motivation to persevere through life.”
College doesn’t mean your connection with Dr. Seuss is over. If you can break away from the textbooks and scholarly sources, take the time to reread one of Dr. Seuss’s silly, but sometimes not-so-silly rhymes.
“I never write for children,” Seuss once said. “I write for people.”
CORRECTION: The headline of this article was updated on Thursday at 12:30 p.m. to correct the spelling of Dr. Seuss’ name.