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March 1, 2019

Dr. Seuss’ 115th Birthday Celebrated with Focus on Diversity

Recently, hundreds of volunteer readers visited Sarasota and Manatee elementary schools to read Dr. Seuss stories and discuss how those tales encourage acceptance of others.

Elementary school students in Sarasota and Manatee counties celebrated Dr. Seuss’ 115th birthday on Friday by reading some of Seuss’ classic storybooks, focusing on the themes of diversity and inclusion.

“Embracing Dr. Seuss’ Differences Day” brought 280 volunteer readers into more than 360 pre-kindergarten through third-grade classrooms in Sarasota and Manatee. Volunteers read titles including “The Cat in the Hat,” “Green Eggs and Ham,” and “Horton Hears a Who.” Organizers say the stories were selected to spark conversations about diversity, bullying, and character education.

“Dr. Seuss epitomizes a love of children and learning,” said Brenna Wilhm, Embracing Our Differences director of operations. “His use of rhyme is an effective tool for teaching young children about the joys of reading and language. When we celebrate Dr. Seuss and reading, we send a clear message to our children that reading is fun and important.”

The event was organized by Embracing Our Differences along with the Suncoast Campaign for Grade-Level Reading. Funding was provided through the generosity of The Patterson Foundation, the Community Foundation of Sarasota County, United Way Suncoast, and an anonymous family donor. The Suncoast Campaign for Grade-Level Reading distributed more 6,500 books to participating classrooms and students. The day of Seuss is part of Embracing Our Differences larger mission, which is to use art and education to promote diversity.

This story comes from a partnership between the Suncoast Campaign for Grade-Level Reading and the Herald-Tribune, funded by The Patterson Foundation, to cover school readiness, attendance, summer learning, healthy readers and parent engagement. Read more stories at

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