Illustration by Steven McKimmie from open source children’s book, Little Ant’s Big Plan
Today would have been the 114th birthday of Theodor Seuss Geisel, better known as Dr Seuss.
For over three-quarters of a century, children have delighted in the colourful and whimsical stories of this prolific writer. My own children have enjoyed the satisfaction of reading their very first words in Hop on Pop, a book which displays Seuss’s amazing talent for teaching kids how to read.
Possibly the best thing about his books is that though they all have some kind of lesson or moral, these aren’t overtly spelled out, making them a pleasure for even adults to read.
In honour of his birthday, I’ve created a list of five life lessons all kids can learn from his stories.
1. Learn to Read: Dr Seuss’s ABC
It’s a classic, which breaks from the traditional ‘a is for apple’ books. Like all his other books there’s a heap of nonsensical words, which make learning letter sounds fun for kids.
2. It’s Good to Try New Things: Green Eggs and Ham
As a parent, I know how picky children can be, especially when it comes to food. This book provides a great lesson for kids on trying something new. Kids will discover, just like Sam I Am, that when they try something new, they might actually like it!
3. We Must Protect the Environment: The Lorax
We’re reminded in this book of how important it is to reduce waste and to protect the environment. Though it’s a heartbreaking read, especially the part where the Lorax gets up and floats away, the story ends on a hopeful note. Kids are reminded that if they do their bit to protect our Earth, the Lorax and his friends might just come back.
4. We Should Live with Others in Peace: The Sneetches
After a race to try and be better than each other, both the Star-belly and the Plain-belly Sneetches realise that ‘Sneetches are Sneetches’ and that no kind of Sneetch is the best. It’s a valuable lesson for children to see that people are people regardless of their differences and that we can all live together in harmony.
5. Life is an Adventure: Oh, the Places You’ll Go!
I received this book as a gift for my 21st birthday. It inspired me then and it still sits on my bookshelf today. The story tells us that no matter how old we are, or where we are in our lives, there are always new things to see and do. It also touches on the reality that sometimes life can be hard, but that there is always something new to learn. Kids (and grownups) can take great joy in this – that life is an adventure and we get to make it so!
Written by Melissa Fagan, freelance non-fiction editor
I help non-fiction publishers deliver award-winning content. I am an internationally qualified non-fiction editor with 11 years’ publishing experience, specialising in education, lifestyle and literacy.
Email me: firstname.lastname@example.org
If you’re passionate about children’s literacy and you enjoyed reading this post, please share it with your networks. I’d also love to hear your thoughts, so leave a comment below.