Theodor Geisel, known to most of us by his pen name, Dr. Seuss, was born in 1904 on this day—March 2nd. Although his first children’s book was initially rejected by at least 20 publishers, Dr. Seuss went on to become one of the best-selling children’s authors of all time. And even though he died over 30 years ago, many of his books are still enjoyed by children today.
In celebration of the much-loved writer and illustrator of such classics as The Cat in the Hat and How the Grinch Stole Christmas!, we’ve gathered 10 of our favorite Dr. Seuss quotes. He may have written books for children, but we think grown-ups can learn from Dr. Seuss’s wisdom too.
1.“Today you are you! That is truer than true! There is no one alive who is you-er than you!”
We couldn’t resist beginning with what is probably the most popular Dr. Seuss quote of all. It’s taken from his 1959 book Happy Birthday to You!, which tells how birthdays are celebrated in the imaginary land of Katroo (and how they should really be celebrated everywhere!) These words assert the importance of being happy with who we are, rather than trying to be like other people.
2.“You do not like them. So you say. Try them! Try them! And you may.”
In this quote from Green Eggs and Ham, the enthusiastic (and slightly annoying) Sam-I-Am tries to persuade his stubborn friend to eat this unusual meal. In the end, his persistence pays off, and his pal not only agrees to try the green eggs and ham but declares that he really likes them and “would eat them anywhere.” The lesson here is that you won’t know whether you like something until you’ve tried it.
3.“UNLESS someone like you cares a whole awful lot,
Nothing is going to get better. It’s not.”
The Lorax, which was first published in 1971, addresses a theme that is more relevant today than ever before: man’s impact on the environment. These words, which are addressed to the reader, remind us that each of us can play our part in caring for the planet.
4.“And will you succeed? Yes! You will, indeed! (98 and ¾ percent guaranteed.)”
Oh, The Places You’ll Go! was the last book Dr. Seuss published before his death in 1991. It is filled with encouragement and advice for those setting out on the adventure of life. We love the way Dr. Seuss’s words are full of hope—without making unrealistic promises. The message here is that you’ll have the best chance of success if you have a positive attitude.
5.“The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.”
Dr. Seuss’s rhythm and rhyme have fostered a love of reading in generations of children. So, who better than Dr. Seuss to remind us that we can learn and grow and open ourselves to new opportunities by reading? These words from I Can Read With My Eyes Shut can be taken both literally and figuratively because reading can take us anywhere in our imaginations.
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6.“You have to be odd to be number one.”
This witty quote doesn’t appear in any of his books but is attributed to Dr. Seuss, nonetheless. It means that if you want to be the best at something, you will have to behave in unconventional ways and be prepared for people to think you’re a bit strange!
7.“The day they decided that Sneetches are Sneetches
And no kind of Sneetch is the best on the beaches.”
The title story of the 1961 book The Sneetches and Other Stories is a cautionary tale about the star-bellied Sneetches who think they are better than the plain-bellied Sneetches. In a funny and clever way, the story shows the hurtfulness and senselessness of racial prejudice. Happily, as these lines show, the silly Sneetches come to their senses and forget about their differences.
8.“Think and wonder. Wonder and think.”
With so much media competing for our attention, it can be hard to escape distractions long enough to explore our own thoughts and feelings. With these words, Dr. Seuss reminds us of the importance of dwelling on the mysteries of life, the universe, and everything. The suggestion appears in Oh, the Thinks You Can Think!, published in 1975—long before the internet and social media came along to steal our thinking time!
9.“Today was good. Today was fun. Tomorrow is another one.”
These simple words are from One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish, a book for the youngest readers. The lesson is that fun is a good thing, that we should enjoy life, and look forward to the future. We think that’s a good lesson for adults too!
10. “So the writer who breeds more words than he needs, is making a chore for the reader who reads.”
We finish today’s post with a nugget of Dr. Seuss’s advice to writers. Here he tells us about the importance of using clear, concise language. Repetition is fine for children’s books, but it’s usually best to be succinct. If we pad out our writing with unnecessary wordiness, readers will have a tough job working out what we’re trying to say.
Our proofreaders are trained to spot repetition and redundancies as well as typos and grammatical errors. If you want to see what we can do to help you polish your writing, send us a sample of your work to proofread for free today!