Theodor Seuss Geisel was an American writer, poet, and cartoonist most widely known for his children's books written under the pennames Dr. Seuss, Theo LeSieg and, in one case, Rosetta Stone.  Geisel's birthday, March 2, has been adopted as the annual date for National ReadAcrossAmerica Day, an initiative on reading created by the National Education Association.

He published 46 children's books, which were often characterized by imaginative characters, rhyme, and frequent use of trisyllabic meter. Numerous adaptations of his work have been created, including 11 television specials, four feature films, a Broadway musical and four television series. He won the Lewis Carroll Shelf Award in 1958 for Horton Hatches the Egg and again in 1961 for And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street.

In May 1954, Life magazine published a report on illiteracy among school children, which concluded that children were not learning to read because their books were boring. Accordingly, William Ellsworth Spaulding, the director of the education division at Houghton Mifflin who later became its Chairman, compiled a list of 348 words he felt were important for first-graders to recognize and asked Geisel to cut the list to 250 words and write a book using only those words.

Spaulding challenged Geisel to "bring back a book children can't put down." Nine months later, Geisel, using 236 of the words given to him, completed The Cat in the Hat. It retained the drawing style, verse rhythms, and all the imaginative power of Geisel's earlier works, but because of its simplified vocabulary could be read by beginning readers. The Cat in the Hat and subsequent books written for young children achieved significant international success and they remain very popular today.

Though Geisel made a point of not beginning the writing of his stories with a moral in mind, stating that “kids can see a moral coming a mile off,” he was not against writing about issues; he said that “there's an inherent moral in any story,” and he remarked that he was “subversive as hell.”

Many of Geisel's books express his views on a remarkable variety of social and political issues: The Lorax (1971), about environmentalism and anti-consumerism; The Sneetches (1961), about racialequality; The Butter Battle Book (1984), about the armsrace; Yertle the Turtle (1958), about Hitler and anti-authoritarianism; How the Grinch Stole Christmas (1957), criticizing the materialism and consumerism of the Christmas season; and Horton Hears a Who! (1950), about anti-isolationism and internationalism.

Dr. Seuss's honors include two Academy awards, two Emmy awards, a Peabody award, the Laura Ingalls Wilder Medal, and the Pulitzer Prize.

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