Theodor Seuss Geisel, better known as "Dr. Seuss," was born on March 2nd in 1904 and published over 40 children's books that have been published in at least 20 languages and sold over 500 million copies worldwide. Some of his lesser-known, but equally remarkable accomplishments include his work during World War II in an animation department of the U.S Army, where he wrote the film Design for Death that ended up winning the Academy Award for Documentary Feature in 1947.
But Dr. Seuss' legacy has also long been associated with literacy, which is why the National Education Association holds its annual Read Across America initiative on this date. In schools throughout the U.S. today (and even around the world), reading will be a special focus. In hundreds of towns teenagers, librarians, politicians, actors, athletes, parents and grandparents will read aloud to students. Readers have been logging in to the NEA's site to make pledges, with California leading the charge with the most reading pledges in the U.S. with 386 submissions. Pledges have also come in from readers in Brazil, Finland, Gabon, Germany, Israel and Turkmenistan, among others.
Tomorrow, the book/literacy focus shifts even more globally for World Book Day, designated by UNESCO as a worldwide celebration of books and reading, marked in over 100 countries world-wide. It's particularly popular in the UK, which this year is celebrating with a World Book Night where one million books will be given away. There's also a star-studded launch event in Trafalgar Square the night before.
It's not too late to participate in any of these events and help spread some book love and literacy in your little corner of the world. But don't just make it one day a year; volunteer in a literacy organization in your town, buy books for all the kids on your gift list and support your local libraries.