I’ve been feeling a little nostalgic lately: looking through my books for old favorites, watching movies from my childhood whenever they’re on TV, even listening to songs from the ’90s once in a while. That’s how I recently had an idea for another post on inspiration, because when I think about my childhood, one of the most prominent figures that comes to mind is the author of some of my favorite classics of children’s literature: Dr. Seuss.
Name: Theodor Seuss Geisel
Pen Name: Dr. Seuss
Life: Mar. 2, 1904 – Sept. 24, 1991
Occupation: writer, cartoonist, animator, publisher, artist
Genres: children’s literature
Notable Works: The Cat in the Hat, Horton Hears a Who!, Green Eggs and Ham
My Favorite Works: The Cat in the Hat, The Sneetches and Other Stories, Horton Hears a Who!, How the Grinch Stole Christmas!
Dr. Seuss was a huge part of my childhood. When I was little, my mother signed us up for the Dr. Seuss book club, so we would get one of his books in the mail every month. By the time I started reading on my own, I had a large collection of fun stories to choose from, such as The Cat in the Hat, Horton Hears a Who! and Green Eggs and Ham. Because of this, my earliest memories of reading were filled with colorful characters and silly rhymes that kept me entertained for hours on end. If I ever wanted to get lost in books, I could always count on Seuss’s imaginative world.
The main reason I find this author so inspiring is because his stories were an important first step into my love of books. Sometimes I wonder if I would have grown to love reading as much as I do today if I hadn’t had the privilege of enjoying Dr. Seuss’s work at such a young age. His books were very easy to read and understand, and that always made reading such a pleasure. In fact, his rhymes and style of writing were so memorable that to this day, my mom and I can quote lines word for word back to each other. In this way, Seuss gave us the gift of memories that we could share for the rest of our lives.
But there was much more to these books than simple rhymes and oddly shaped characters with bizarre names. Dr. Seuss had a talent for embedding important lessons in his stories without making them blatantly obvious or patronizing. Moral issues are cleverly hidden behind tales of strange creatures living in unusual worlds: The Sneetches shows us that racism is unjustified; The Lorax shines light on environmentalism and the dangers of corporate greed to the natural world; How the Grinch Stole Christmas! criticizes the commercialization that the holiday season has suffered over time; and even a story as simple as Green Eggs and Ham can be read as a lesson on trying new things in order to form educated opinions. There was almost always something to learn in Seuss’s books, and because the lessons were presented in such a kid-friendly format (complete with his colorful illustrations), it made his stories that much more accessible to children just starting to discover the world around them.
There are quite a few authors I associate with my childhood, but Dr. Seuss is by far one of my favorites. His books inspired me to continue reading beyond the beginner level, and the lessons in his stories have stayed with me into my adult years. Even now, I can’t help but smile as I think about how I once knew The Sneetches by heart and how I still enjoy reading Horton Hears a Who! out loud once in a while. Though authors like Roald Dahl and J.K. Rowling were great inspirations for my writing, Dr. Seuss was a great inspiration for my reading, and in my opinion, there’s no greater gift that a writer can give to children. To the little girl still in my heart, Dr. Seuss will always be a hero.