Michelle Mallonee Long
“You can find magic wherever you look.
Sit back and relax, all you need is a book.” – Dr. Seuss
On a recent trip to Universal Studios where we spent the majority of our time in the “Wizarding World of Harry Potter,” I was afraid that I was going to have to do a great deal of coaxing to get the teenage boys to stop in “Seuss Landing” with me. I thought that they would think they were too old for Dr. Seuss. To my surprise they went willingly and even rode the merry-go-round and train with me. (Shh, don’t tell their friends.) As we rode they commented on remembering the stories being read to them, which ones were their favorites, and learning to read the books on their own.
As I listened to them talk, I heard them recalling some of the life lessons they learned from those stories, like “Sam I am,” from Green Eggs and Ham, taught that it was okay to try new things. (Of course, this went more like “That green eggs dude who kept getting the other guy to eat the stuff.” “Yeah, but he liked it.” “Sorta like how you eat orange chicken now.”) They may not have realized the message, but I heard it loud and clear. Those stories have meaning and those meanings had an impact that has stayed with them into their teenage years.
This got me thinking about the messages they are learning now and what impact these may have on them in the future. So I did a little bit of comparison from Dr. Seuss to Harry Potter and this is what I learned:
Dr. Seuss teaches us to face our fears, while Harry Potter (JK Rowling) teaches us to be brave.
“Well, I was walking in the night
And I saw nothing scary
For I have never been afraid of anything. Not Very.”
Dr. Seuss – What was I scared of?
“It takes a great deal of bravery to stand up to your enemies, but a great deal more to stand up to your friends.”
Albus Dumbledore, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone
From both we learn that life’s opportunities are boundless.
“Out there things can happen, and frequently do,
To people as brainy and footsy as you.
And when things start to happen, don’t worry, don’t stew.
Just go right along, you’ll start happening too!”
Dr. Seuss, Oh, The Places You’ll Go!
“Anything is possible if you’ve got enough nerve.”
Ginny Weasley, Harry Potter
Dr. Seuss teaches us to think, while Harry Potter (JK Rowling) teaches us about creativity and wisdom.
“Think left and think right, think low and think high, oh the things you can think if only you try.”
“Happiness can be found even in the darkest of times if one only remembers to turn on the light.”
Albus Dumbledore – Harry Potter
From both we learn the importance of loyalty.
“I meant what I said and I said what I meant. An elephant’s faithful One hundred per cent!”
Dr. Seuss, Horton Hatches the Egg
“After all this time?” “Always”
Albus Dumbledore and Severus Snape, Harry Potter
To carefully follow our ambitions.
“Step with care and great tact and remember that life’s a great balancing act.”
“It is our choices that show us who we truly are far more than our abilities.”
Albus Dumbledore – Harry Potter
And to be true to yourself.
“You have brains in your head.
You have feet in your shoes.
You can steer yourself any direction you choose.”
Dr. Seuss, Oh, the Places You’ll Go
“Being different isn’t a bad thing. It means you’re brave enough to be yourself.”
Luna Lovegood, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows
I am not sure where our ready journey will take us next, but I am looking forward to having more conversations about the messages we may learn along the way.
“It’s the books you read when you’re young
that stay with you always.” – JK Rowling
For additional reading on the topic of life’s lessons in children’s books try:
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