Dr. Seuss’s books are entertaining and loveable and include classics like How the Grinch Stole Christmas!, Green Eggs and Ham, and his first bestseller, The Cat in the Hat. But where did Dr. Seuss get his inspiration to write these books?
Dr. Seuss got his inspiration from his vibrant childhood. He loved reading and writing, and his parents taught him about rhyming while encouraging him to draw. As an adult, he drew inspiration from things around him and his need to help children learn how to read.
In this article, I’ll explore the reasons that contributed to Dr. Seuss’s inspiration and enabled him to pen more than 60 successful children’s books.
Things That Inspired Dr. Seuss To Write
Dr. Seuss was inspired to be creative from an early age. This inspiration set the foundation for him to write and draw, which helped him become a famous children’s book writer. Here are the top reasons why Dr. Seuss started writing.
1. He Always Loved To Read and Write
Dr. Seuss was an avid reader and writer when he was a child. Books inspired him to come up with interesting, funny stories and drawings.
His habit of reading later caused him to channel his love for creativity into making children laugh and helping them find his books easy to read.
2. Dr. Seuss’s Parents Inspired Him To Write
Both of Dr. Seuss’s parents contributed to making him feel inspired to write as an adult. His father always encouraged him to draw pictures and would prompt him to do drawing-related tasks, such as giving him a sketchpad and taking him to the zoo to draw the animals they saw together.
On the other hand, his mother helped him to write with rhythm. He praised her for teaching him the rhythms he used in his writing and the “urgency” with which he wrote. She achieved this by chanting the words from bedtime stories she would read to Dr. Seuss at night.
3. Dr. Seuss Was Inspired by Things Around Him
Dr. Seuss was a highly creative person, but it’s unknown what inspired some of his stories, so people have taken the time to figure out what he saw around him and what could have inspired him.
An interesting idea thought to have inspired his book, The Lorax, was the Monterey Cypress tree that he could see from where he lived on the mountain.
His story, The Lorax, is about a character who tries to defend fictional trees that people need to survive. It was published in 1971.
4. Dr. Seuss Thrived on Being Creative
When he worked in advertising, Dr. Seuss didn’t have much time for his particular brand of creativity. He started writing children’s books on the side because it was one of the only creative things he could do in his line of work without upsetting his employers.
However, he was also highly creative in his advertising work. He produced ads for popular brands, such as NBC and Ford.
5. He Took a Bet To Write
Dr. Seuss was an interesting person who could be spontaneous and humorous. In some cases, the inspiration behind a book was nothing more than a bet!
He once took a bet from his editor to write a book with 50 or fewer words. What came about from this dare was his successful book Green Eggs and Ham, which was published in 1960. It became one of the most popular children’s books and was later adapted for TV.
To learn more about Green Eggs and Ham, read our article, “9 Most Read Children’s Books in the World.”
6. Dr. Seuss Wrote Because He Couldn’t Have Children
Although Dr. Seuss loved writing books for children, he didn’t have any kids of his own. Apparently, when people would ask Dr. Seuss why he didn’t have children, he’d drolly reply, “You have ’em, I’ll entertain ’em.“
Some say that Dr. Seuss wrote his first children’s book in 1931 when his first wife discovered she couldn’t carry children.
Dr. Seuss eventually became a stepfather to two children when he remarried after his first wife passed away.
7. He Wanted To Help Children Read
One of the most amazing inspirations for Dr. Seuss was his deep need to help children learn how to read. Some say he read an article about children who experienced difficulty learning to read and wanted to help them by providing them with his books.
According to The Guardian, children are reading less every day. Their report showed that only a quarter of the under-18 population reads every day.
Dr. Seuss’s books have helped many kids learn how to read in a fun way. These books are designed to be simple, and even very young children who don’t know how to read much can get a better grasp of language and its rhythm by reading books like Horton Hears a Who! and One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish.
In addition to helping children learn to read, Dr. Seuss’s stories teach children critical thinking and problem-solving skills.
8. Dr. Seuss Had a Wild Imagination
Dr. Seuss was very creative and imaginative, and he acknowledged this as his unique way of seeing the world around him. When he was in high school, Dr. Seuss took an art course, but he quit suddenly when a teacher asked him to draw the world as it was because he preferred to draw things the way he saw them.
He would also draw his classmates as animals. “Even now, none of my animals are really animals. They’re people, sort of,” he told the Saturday Evening Post.
Dr. Seuss’s children’s books are imaginative, bizarre, and fueled by his strong imagination. He poured his life and experiences on paper, showcasing his brilliance through creative rhymes, made-up creatures and words, and childish, simple stories.
His main inspirations for writing were:
- His love of books and writing from an early age.
- His parents encouraged him to draw and rhyme.
- He wanted to help children read.
- Bedtime History Stories: History Of Dr. Seuss For Kids
- Books Tell You Why: What Influenced Dr. Seuss?
- CNN Travel: The Tree Thought To Have Inspired Dr. Seuss’ ‘The Lorax’ Has Fallen
- Washington Post: Audrey Geisel, Caretaker Of the Dr. Seuss Literary Estate, Dies At 97
- PBS: 8 Things You Didn’t Know About Dr. Seuss
- CBC Books: 63 Facts About the World of Dr. Seuss
- Vanderbilt Peabody College: Dr. Seuss Still Helpful For Early Readers, Say Peabody Faculty
- Saturday Evening Post: Dr. Seuss: ‘What Am I Doing Here?’
- History: This Day in History – Dr. Seuss Born
- The Guardian: Children Are Reading less Than Ever Before, Research Reveals