Thursday, March 2, 2006

Dr. Seuss's Birthday, World Book Day, March 2nd

Dr. Seuss's Birthday

Today is Dr. Seuss's birthday. Because it's his birthday, the NEA (National Educator's Association) is celebrating with their program: NEA's Read Across America: Building a Nation of Readers. You can check out their website, which is mostly geared toward teacher and the like, but other right-minded individuals can get involved in the promotion of Read Across America.

Originally created as a one-day event to celebrate the joy of reading on March 2, Dr. Seuss's birthday, NEA's Read Across America has grown into a nationwide initiative that promotes reading every day of the year.
How cool is that! This author has changed children's literature so much that his birthday is celebrated nationally as a literacy day.

If you want to celebrate Seuss by just learning more about him, there are many sites dedicated to him. These two I thought were interesting:

1) Dr. Seuss Went to War. (I found this one fascinating. He was a very successful political cartoonist during World War II. It's fun to see his very distinctive style making fun of republicans, who talk about changing times, were opposed to going to war.)

2) The Center For Seussian Studies

Or there is the Random House Welcome to Seussville site. This one is geared to kids.

Or there are things like this which show that Dr. Seuss has permanently embedded himself in the psychic memories of our culture. (Yes, I did link to this already, but I really like it.

World Book Day

World Book Day is a similar celebration to NEA's Read Across America, but it is the British version.
World Book Day was designated by UNESCO (United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization as a worldwide celebration of books and reading, and was marked in over 30 countries around the globe last year. The origins of the day we now celebrate in the UK and Ireland come from Catalonia, where roses and books were given as gifts to loved ones on St. George's Day − a tradition started some 80 years ago...
...World Book Day 2006 in the UK and Ireland will take place on Thursday 2nd March. It is a partnership of publishers, booksellers and interested parties who work together to promote books and reading for the personal enrichment and enjoyment of all.
The site notes that UNESCO sponsored World Reading Days in nations other than the UK are celebrated on April 23rd.

One interesting thing that the organizers over in Britain did to prepare for World Book Day, was complete a Happy Endings Survey. If you click on the link on the main page you will download the results in a Word file. The have some interesting facts in the study. You should check it out. Apparently, not only gender determines what type of ending we like, also age has some influence:
"41% of people are overwhelmingly in favour of books with a happy ending, as against 2.2% who prefer a sad ending. Women were 13% more likely than men to say they want it all to end happily. Almost one fifth of men expressed a preference for books with ambiguous endings. Young people were most likely to prefer books with a sad ending - 8.6% of under 16s. Those aged 41-65, however, shun sad endings, with only 1.1% of them preferring books that end this way." (Happy Ending Book Survey,

Personally, I prefer an ending that fits the story, if it's happy, but the happiness betrays the quality or the tone of the story, I don't like it. But, that's just me.

If you want to make your own Dr. Seuss bookmark, or happy ending bookmark, here is a blank template page. Just get creative and have fun!

Happy Reading!


b said...

At the elemnentary school I work at, we celebrate Dr. Seuss day every year. Last year, I had a fun time with my 5th graders reading the book "one fish two fish red fish blue fish," which I re-entitled "disasters of nuclear contamination," and provided the students commentary of why the creatures look as freakish as they did. This year, with mu 3rd graders, they just didn't appreciate it as much. I told them they were stupid (just kidding!).

Absent-minded Secretary said...

Oh ye children of little imagination.

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