Celebrating Dr. Seuss, his Messages and his Books on his Birthday

March 2 marks the birthday of the late Theodor Seuss Geisel, better known to children everywhere as Dr. Seuss. And, the legacy of author, famous for writing witty, imaginative stories with a moral in mind, will be celebrated that day across the country - and right here in Chicago at Open Books.

Bringing Important Messages to Life for Audiences Around the World

Dr. Seuss refined his writing talent as an advertising copywriter early on in his career. Even then, he was recognized for his ability to bring messages to life - even when it came to selling the likes of Standard Oil and Flit (a brand of bug spray).

In 1937, Dr. Seuss authored his first children's book, And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street!, and began to bring important social messages of environmentalism, diversity, tolerance, cooperation and respect - in a humorous and relatable way - to young audiences around the world.

In total, Dr. Seuss published 46 children's books, which have been translated into more than 15 languages. One of his most celebrated books is the bestselling The Cat and the Hat, which was originally written using 225 words that were deemed to be important for first graders to recognize - at that time.

Dr. Seuss' efforts to instil important moral lessons and a passion for reading in children still lives on today. His birthday is now the annual date for the National Education Association's National Read Across America Day, a nationwide reading celebration that aims to bring children together to enjoy reading and related activities together.

Celebrating Dr. Seuss' Birthday and National Read Across America Day at Open Books

As a mother, I always smile when one of my sons asks to read one of Dr. Seuss' children's books. (Or, now as they're getting older, one of them chooses to read it on their own.) I know that with each reading, they will be entertained by the story, the rhymes and the characters, and also be exposed to lessons that still hold true and have value in today's world.

That's why I am glad to join in the celebration of Dr. Seuss' birthday and National Read Across America Day - and happy that Open Books (213 W. Institute Place) is offering Chicago families a great, interactive way to join in on the fun.

On Saturday, March 2, Open Books will welcome families for an fun-filled, imaginative day, celebrating reading, writing and Dr. Seuss. From 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., you can participate in Seuss-inspired activities, including readings, arts and crafts, and face painting. Open Books will welcome The Wishcraft Workshop, Emerald City Theatre Company and Marsha's Music to lead children in special arts and crafts, theatre exercises and music activities in the afternoon. And, of course, since it is a birthday party, cake will be served!

A full list of the day's activities is available here.

Families also can take advantage of a special 20 percent discount on all children's books that day at Open Books. It's just one more way to keep the excitement for reading Dr. Seuss and other books going at home - for less!

Keeping Dr. Seuss' Lessons Alive at Home

For anyone interested in bringing some of Dr. Seuss' timeless lessons to life at home. You may want to choose to read The Lorax, which addresses environmentalism, or The Sneetches, which focuses on the issues of prejudice, bias and inclusion. I've read The Lorax several times over the past year  since my sons had a renewed interested in the story after seeing the motion picture movie. But, I have to admit, it's been a long time since we've read The Sneetches, and I believe it's important social messages are worth reading - and repeating - again and again.

So, this year, on Dr. Seuss' birthday, I'm going to take stock of our Dr. Seuss books and see which ones we need to pull out, re-read and discuss. And, we'll be sure to stop by Open Books to celebrate the importance and sheer joy of reading and Dr. Seuss's stories with other local families.

What is your family's favorite Dr. Seuss book? What important messages does it bring to life for you and your children? How do you plan to celebrate Dr. Seuss' birthday this year? Please share your thoughts in the comments below.

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