When Houghton Mifflin commissioned Theodore Seuss Geisel (1904-1991) in 1957 to write an early reader for the school market from a controlled list of vocabulary words, he already had produced advertisements, created political cartoons, and wrote and illustrated other children’s books. He wrote the now canonical The Cat in the Hat, which displaced the then-popular-Dick-and-Jane readers and launched a primer series that would change children’s reading practices. Dr. Seuss’s books have become a common experience for many children in the United States and other parts of the world. Many of us have a great fondness for these stories because they were a mainstay of family bedtime and school reading. In this lecture, we will consider historical and biographical information to contextualize some of Dr. Seuss’s books to analyze his words and images within the time and place in which they were produced. Critical reading Dr. Seuss’s work demonstrates how these stories are cultural records that offer commentary on the past, present, and possibly, the future.
Presented by Professor Maria José Botelho, Associate Professor of Language, Literacy, & Culture, University of Massachusetts Amherst, Five College Doors to the World Project.
The audience is invited to bring a lunch to enjoy during the program.
Free coffee available. Cookies provided courtesy of Big Y.