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Bookstore Celebrates 'Read Across America'

On March 2, with the help of a sneaky cat, two "things," a fish and two children whose "mother was out," the Berea College Bookstore celebrated the National Education Association's (NEA) "Read Across America" event as well as the 50th anniversary of Dr. Seuss' "The Cat in the Hat" by reading the beloved book to children from the campus childcare center.

Students were invited to read Dr. Seuss' classic "tail" aloud.

The NEA's "Read Across America" campaign started ten years ago with the intent to "build a nation of readers." Staff from the bookstore invited three and four-year-olds from Berea's childcare center to enjoy a reading of Dr. Seuss' book as well as treats and fun activities. One student worker was dressed as the "Cat in the Hat," while others read the story aloud to the children.

Dr. Seuss, whose real name was Theodor Seuss Geisel, wrote the "Cat in the Hat" in 1954 as a response to a LIFE Magazine article written by John Hersey. In the article, Hersey criticized school primers, especially their inability to captivate students with their illustrations and subject matter. “Why should [school primers] not have pictures that widen rather than narrow the associative richness the children give to the words they illustrate - drawings like those of the wonderfully imaginative geniuses among children’s illustrators, Tenniel, Howard Pyle, Dr. Seuss, Walt Disney,” Hersey wrote.

Dr. Seuss interpreted this to be a "challenge," and began to write. He limited himself to only a small vocabulary - only 236 words - and crafted a rhyming title which would catch the interest of the younger population. His tricks worked. The book was first published in 1957, and has gone on to sell an estimated 7.2 million copies in the United States alone. "The Cat in the Hat" is ninth best selling hardback children's book of all time.

For more information on Dr. Seuss, the NEA or the Berea College Bookstore, click on the links below.

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