The celebration of Read Across America on Dr. Seuss’s birthday is just a week away, and all over the country—and across the Internet—folks are being reminded, “You’re never too old, too wacky, too wild to pick up a book and read with a child.” Every year millions and millions of readers are inspired to don the hat of Dr. Seuss’s Cat in the Hat and share books with kids in schools, hospitals, homes, homeless shelters, libraries, museums and more.

 

It was March 2, 1998, when the National Education Association (NEA) first called for every child in every community across the country to celebrate reading on Dr. Seuss’s birthday. Kids reading across our great nation in a Dr. Seuss birthday celebration needed an anthem worthy of the lively rhymes and rollicking rhythms of the beloved author. Something Seussational like:

 

You’re never too old, too wacky, too wild,

To pick up a book and read with a child.

 

You’ve probably seen this quote attributed to Dr. Seuss. On Pinterest. Or Facebook. Or on a t-shirt.

th-2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dr. Seuss never said, never wrote those words.

 

The lines comes not from Dr. Seuss, but from a talented NEA staff member who swiftly composed this poetic piece during a meeting:

 

You’re never too old, too wacky, too wild,

To pick up a book and read with a child.

You’re never too busy, too cool, or too hot,

To pick up a book and share what you’ve got.

In schools and communities,

Let’s gather around,

Let’s pick up a book,

Let’s pass it around.

There are kids all around you,

Kids who will need

Someone to hug,

Someone to read.

Come join us March 2nd

Your own special way

And make this America’s

Read to Kids Day.

 

The poem is published in full on the NEA website, but the first two lines have been appropriated by—for the most part—well-intentioned folks who want to use a Dr. Seuss image and clever quote to spread the word about the joys of reading. This accidental plagiarism is somewhat similar to that of author John Green’s much-circulated quote that was actually written by a 13-year-old reader. Except that since Dr. Seuss is no longer with us, he can’t say to the Internet, “Hey, I didn’t write that. Anita Merina did. So you should credit her, not me.”

 

But now you know. So you can get it right.

wackyanita

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And when you’re getting wacky and wild sharing books with kids next week, you might also point out to them that its always a good idea to question what you read.

 

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