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Thu Feb 28, 2013, 10:23 AM

Radical Reading: The Progressive Dr. Seuss

Radical Reading: The Progressive Dr. Seuss
By Peter Dreier
Truthout | Historical Analysis

Thursday 28 February 2013

"Generations of progressive activists may not trace their political views to their early exposure to Dr. Seuss, but without doubt this shy, brilliant genius played a role in sensitizing them to abuses of power."

On Friday, March 1, tens of millions of children and their parents will be reading Dr. Seuss books as part of Read Across America Day, sponsored by the National Educational Association (NEA) in partnership with local school districts and some businesses. The NEA, which started the program 16 years ago to encourage reading, was smart to tie the program to Dr. Seuss, who remains - more than two decades after his death - the world's most popular writer of modern children's books. Theodor Seuss Geisel (19041991) - Dr. Seuss' real name - wrote and illustrated 44 children's books, characterized by memorable rhymes, whimsical characters and exuberant drawings that have encouraged generations of children to love reading and expand their vocabularies. His books have been translated into more than 15 languages and have sold more than 200 million copies. They have been adapted into feature films, TV specials and a Broadway musical. He earned two Academy Awards, two Emmy Awards, a Peabody Award, and the Pulitzer Prize.

What few Americans know is that, despite his popular image as a kindly cartoonist for kids, Dr. Seuss was also a moralist and political progressive whose views suffuse his stories. Some of his books use ridicule, satire, wordplay, nonsense words and wild drawings to take aim at bullies, hypocrites and demagogues. He believed that children's books should be both entertaining and educational. His most popular children's books included parables about racism, anti-Semitism, the arms race, and the environment.

His books consistently reveal his sympathy with the weak and the powerless and his fury against tyrants and oppressors. Many Dr. Seuss books are about the misuse of power - by despots, kings, or other rulers, including parents who arbitrarily wield authority. His books teach children to think about how to deal with an unfair world. Rather than telling them what to do, Geisel invites his young readers to consider what they should do when faced with injustice. Generations of progressive activists may not trace their political views to their early exposure to Dr. Seuss, but without doubt this shy, brilliant genius played a role in sensitizing them to abuses of power.

The rest: http://truth-out.org/news/item/14765-radical-reading-the-progressive-dr-seuss

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Arrow 19 replies Author Time Post
Reply Radical Reading: The Progressive Dr. Seuss (Original post)
WilliamPitt Feb 2013 OP
reflection Feb 2013 #1
TlalocW Feb 2013 #4
Uncle Joe Feb 2013 #2
think Feb 2013 #3
WilliamPitt Feb 2013 #5
think Feb 2013 #12
antigop Feb 2013 #13
Bernardo de La Paz Feb 2013 #6
HappyMe Feb 2013 #7
DFW Feb 2013 #8
redstatebluegirl Feb 2013 #9
Tommy_Carcetti Feb 2013 #10
socialindependocrat Feb 2013 #11
StatGirl Feb 2013 #14
alterfurz Feb 2013 #15
WilliamPitt Feb 2013 #16
mountain grammy Feb 2013 #17
Mopar151 Feb 2013 #18
Scurrilous Mar 2013 #19

Response to WilliamPitt (Original post)

Thu Feb 28, 2013, 10:26 AM

1. I bought this book on Amazon a few weeks ago due to another DUers mention

and it was a fascinating read. I didn't realize Theodore Geisel had this political backstory. He was quite the activist in his own unique way. Highly recommend.

http://www.amazon.com/Dr-Seuss-Goes-War-Editorial/dp/1565847040

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Response to reflection (Reply #1)

Thu Feb 28, 2013, 10:46 AM

4. I found that in my local library

And really enjoyed it. I had seen a few WWII political cartoons of his every now and then, but it was great to see a treasury.

TlalocW

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Response to WilliamPitt (Original post)

Thu Feb 28, 2013, 10:27 AM

2. Kicked and recommended.

Thanks for the thread, WilliamPitt.

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Response to Uncle Joe (Reply #2)

Thu Feb 28, 2013, 10:33 AM

3. Ditto. /nt

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Response to think (Reply #3)

Thu Feb 28, 2013, 10:51 AM

5. Not for nothing...

...but I have to say it tickles me that it took until Mar 6, 2008 for someone to choose the DU moniker "think."

Kinda telling.



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Response to WilliamPitt (Reply #5)

Thu Feb 28, 2013, 12:05 PM

12. Ironically

it has more to do with Think skateboards than anything else.

I've used think as my online nic since 99 or so at other forums back when I still sold skateboards at a hobby shop. I needed to come up with my nic and looked down at my belt buckle which of course said "Think" on it

Was surprised and pleased to see it was still available when I finally joined here.

Probably TMI but there you have it.






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Response to WilliamPitt (Reply #5)

Thu Feb 28, 2013, 12:29 PM

13. Be sure to put these books in your kid's library. She will love them.

pssst...they are on sale for $5 on the Kohl's website.

http://www.kohls.com/search/kohl-s-cares.jsp?CN=4294874537&search=dr.%20seuss

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Response to WilliamPitt (Original post)

Thu Feb 28, 2013, 11:17 AM

6. Right wingers hate Seuss's books. They teach people to get along.

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Response to WilliamPitt (Original post)

Thu Feb 28, 2013, 11:27 AM

7. I loved those books when I

was a kid. I still love them now.

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Response to WilliamPitt (Original post)

Thu Feb 28, 2013, 11:48 AM

8. "I'm Yertle the Turtle, oh marvelous me, for I am the ruler of all that I see!"

the ending:

And Yertle the Turtle, that marvelous he
Is king of the mud, for that's all he can see
And the turtles? Now all the turtles are free,
As turtles, and maybe all creatures should be

(From memory, so it's probably not exact, but that's pretty close)

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Response to WilliamPitt (Original post)

Thu Feb 28, 2013, 11:52 AM

9. I still buy "The Places You'll Go" for graduates.

I got it as a college grad and loved that book, still have it in my library and bring it out now and then to read it. He was a progressive genius way ahead of his time.

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Response to WilliamPitt (Original post)

Thu Feb 28, 2013, 11:53 AM

10. The Butter Battle Book.

I didn't have much familiarity with this particular Seuss book until I was at the bookstore with my kids and picked it up.

Written during the arms race during the Cold War, it pretty much summed up the insanity of Mutually Assured Destruction.

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Response to WilliamPitt (Original post)

Thu Feb 28, 2013, 12:04 PM

11. When my friend moved away she got the book....

I think it's - "Oh, The Places You'll See"

and she had all her friends and the people at work sign it.

His way with words probably helped kids appreciate poetry, too!

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Response to WilliamPitt (Original post)

Thu Feb 28, 2013, 12:34 PM

14. You could make a religion out of nothing but Dr. Seuss books.

He covered all the basics for living on this planet. The man was a genius.

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Response to WilliamPitt (Original post)

Thu Feb 28, 2013, 01:05 PM

15. alternate Seuss titles

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Response to alterfurz (Reply #15)

Thu Feb 28, 2013, 01:12 PM

16. Amazing.

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Response to alterfurz (Reply #15)

Thu Feb 28, 2013, 01:22 PM

17. Excellent.. I used to think some of the same thing while reading Dr. Suess to my kids.

With all the little momentos I saved from their childhoods, One box has all the well read Dr. Suess books. All three have grown to be critically thinking liberals; both sons are active union members. I couldn't be prouder.

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Response to WilliamPitt (Original post)

Thu Feb 28, 2013, 03:03 PM

18. A legacy of kindness and wonder, as well





He (or his family) could have made millions with a theme park, but they chose this memorial, sculpted in ultra-durable bronze, to be played on by generations of children of all ages. Sculptor Lark Grey Dimond-Cates, who is also Geisel's step-daughter, created the endearing sculptures
By creating the memorial, we hope to spark imagination and creativity in a new generation," said Joseph Carvalho, president of the Springfield Museums Association. "Dr. Seuss drew much of his inspiration from his own neighborhood in Springfield. It's all still here, just waiting for creative minds to discover it."

Theodor Seuss Geisel was born on Howard Street in Springfield in 1904 and grew up on Fairfield Street in the city's Forest Park neighborhood. His father was a parks commissioner and was in charge of the Forest ParkZoo, a regular playground for young Theodor Geisel. Springfield imagery can be seen throughout his work in the names of streets, the drawings of buildings, the names of his characters, and numerous other references.


Tower O' Turtles and more at http://www.catinthehat.org/memorial.htm

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Response to WilliamPitt (Original post)

Fri Mar 1, 2013, 03:04 AM

19. K & R

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