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Cat in the Hat Anniversary: I wanted this post to have 236 words. Oops.

By Melissa Summers

I was doing so well keeping up with my Tuesday and Thursday publishing schedule. I created an organizational system so I’m not spending 12 hours trying to decide what to write about. But then my son’s toenail had to be removed and all my money went flying out of my pocket…so I was preoccupied. (COBRA, why must you cost so much?)

The nice thing about The Buzz Off is I can selfishly write about what I’m thinking of at the time (like New Year’s Eve parties with kids) or the things I have to do (get holiday cards in the mail). Selfish, probably. But sometimes these things are also helpful for other people.
catinhat50.jpgThis week I’m using the Buzz Off to highlight Dr. Suess and the Cat in the Hat’s 50th birthday and Read Across America day which is March 2nd. I’m highlighting it because it’s a great literacy campaign, but also because each year my kid’s school sponsors a used book sale to celebrate this event. We have a lot of books in our house. Lovely books, but so many of them it’s hard to really weed through them so they end up shoved on shelves. I always mean to donate some of our books to the sale so the kids can get new ones and so I can weed out some of the clutter in our house for a good cause, All proceeds from the sale are donated to a library in a needy district.

In the 3 years my daughter’s been going to this school, I have always forgotten to donate books. Every single year. First the Buzz Off helps me create nice valentines and now it’s going to make me a responsible mother. Well…in a very convoluted way. Sort of.
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The National Education Association started Read Across America as a one day celebration of Dr. Suess’s birthday and now, 10 years later, it’s a year round literacy initiative. This year the highlight of Read Across America is the Cat in the Hat’s 50th birthday and Project 236.
project_236.jpgProject 236 is a literacy initiative inspired by The Cat In The Hat, which Dr Seuss used just 236 words to write. The Cat In The Hat is an important book in children’s literature, not just because it’s really clever, but because it marked a change in children’s literature. At the time children’s literature was somewhat “boring” and “antiseptic”. The Cat In The Hat changed the way kids learned to read and now Random House is using Project 236 to continue literacy in the United States.
From the Dr Seuss site:
“On average, children in middle-income neighborhoods have approximately 13 books per individual child. In contrast, for low-income children, there is estimated to be 1 book for every 300 children.”
happybirthdaycathat.jpgProject 236’s goal is to give books to children who really need them. To accomplish this goal Random House is running a few different programs. For every birthday card you send to the Cat In The Hat, either online or through the mail (see official rules for address), Random House will donate one book to First Book.
firstbook.jpgSending an e-card is pretty easy, but maybe you want to do more. You can donate directly to First Book at their website. A $5 donation provides two new books for a needy child, a $360 donation fills preschooler’s backpacks with their first new books.

At the very least you can read The Cat In The Hat tomorrow, March 2nd at 2:36pm, along with hundreds of elementary school classes. I’ll be in Max’s class, reading and also remembering how much I love children but how great a decision it was to drop that elementary education major. Whew!

Published March 1, 2007. Last updated July 17, 2018.
Melissa Summers
About the Author

Melissa Summers

Melissa Summers was a regular contributor writing Melissa’s Buzz Off.

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Melissa Summers was a regular contributor writing Melissa’s Buzz Off.

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