Dr. Seuss's Biography & Books: Lesson for Kids

Instructor: Jessica Roberts

I have taught at the middle grades level for ten years and earned my MA in reading education in 2009.

Ted Giesel--better known as Dr. Seuss--became a writer and illustrator that many would come to know and love. Although he initially pursued a career as a scholar, lucky for us, Dr. Seuss settled on a career in which he would make millions laugh, learn and grow.

Meeting Dr. Suess

The name Theodor Seuss Geisel probably isn't a familiar name to you, but I'm sure that the name Dr. Seuss immediately strikes a chord. Dr. Seuss wanted to write the great American novel, but perhaps he did much more than that. He wrote many great stories that generations of children love and enjoy to this day.

Young Life and Education

Theodor-- nicknamed Ted--was born in 1904 in Springfield, Massachusetts, to Theodor Robert and Henrietta Seuss Geisel, who were German immigrants. Despite their family's financial challenges, which started in the 1920s, Ted and his sister, Marnie, enjoyed happy and cheerful childhoods.

As an undergraduate at Dartmouth College, Ted worked as the editor of the college magazine, Jack-O-Lantern. As a cartoonist for the magazine Ted eventually began signing his work with the made-up name 'Seuss,' and this pseudonym stuck as his popularity as a writer later grew.

After graduating from Dartmouth, Ted studied briefly at Oxford University from 1925 to 1926, but became bored with his studies and toured Europe for a while instead! However, while at Oxford he met his first wife, Helen Palmer, who was one of his classmates. Helen actually encouraged him to be a cartoonist, rather than a professor, after seeing a funny flying cow that he had doodled in his notebook.

Career and Successes

Upon his return to the United States, he began his career as a cartoonist. Ted and his wife struggled financially during this time so he eventually went into advertising. Several publications, including the Saturday Evening Post, published some of his cartoons, but most of Ted's work during the first fifteen years of his career was devoted to creating advertising campaigns for Standard Oil.

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