Dr. Seuss once said that he never began writing a story with a moral in mind. “Kids can see a moral coming a mile off,” he is quoted as saying. But, he admitted, there’s an inherent moral in any story. While he may not have set out to moralize, there are countless bits of truth and life lessons to be learned in his books.
We set out to find Dr. Seuss’s best quotes—not just the funniest or most creative ones—but those quotes that stick with you, and maybe give you a bit of advice that kids and adults should take to heart.
Along the way, we discovered that many of the quotes Seuss is credited with are in fact, misattributed. So we made sure to provide a source for every quote, and a link to the book it came from in case you’d like to read more.
We also created a free printable with four of our favorite quotes. Feel free to download and print these quotes, share them with friends, or hang them up wherever you need a little inspiration!
Quotes from: I Can Read with My Eyes Shut
“There are so many things you can learn about, but
You’ll miss the best things if you keep your eyes shut.”
Lesson learned: Be curious about the world around you, and never stop learning.
“The more that you read, the more things you will know.
The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go. “
Lesson learned: Knowledge is power, and books can transport you to amazing places.
Quotes from: The Lorax
“Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot,
Nothing is going to get better. It’s not.”
Lesson learned: Individuals can make a difference. But it starts with caring and taking responsibility.
Quotes from: Oh, the Places You’ll Go!
“You have brains in your head.
You have feet in your shoes.
You can steer yourself
Any direction you choose.”
Lesson learned: You determine your own destiny.
Quotes from: One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish
“If you never did
These things are fun.
And fun is good.”
Lesson learned: Try new things! Have fun and enjoy life!
“From there to here,
From here to there,
Funny things are everywhere.”
Lesson learned: Sure, there’s bad stuff out there. But when you stop and look around, the world really is a funny place too.
“Today is gone.
Today was fun.
Tomorrow is another one.”
Lesson learned: Tomorrow is a new day. Enjoy the present and look forward to the future.
Quotes from: Happy Birthday to You!
“Today you are you, that is truer than true.
There is no one alive who is youer than you.”
Lesson learned: There is only one you! Be yourself!
Quotes from: Oh, the Thinks You Can Think
“Think left and think right and think low and think high.
Oh, the thinks you can think up if only you try!”
Lesson learned: You are capable of enormous creativity. Remember this if you’re struggling with a problem, and keep at it!
Quotes from: Did I Ever Tell You How Lucky You Are?
“You oughta be thankful
A whole heaping lot
For the people and places
You’re lucky you’re not.”
Lesson learned: Be grateful for what you have.
Quotes from: Horton Hears a Who!
“Don’t give up! I believe in you all.
A person’s a person, no matter how small!
And you very small persons will not have to die
If you make yourselves heard! So come on, now, and TRY!”
Lesson learned: The reference to dying sounds a bit morbid, but in the context of the story it makes sense. The message is a positive one though: all people are equal, and everyone has a voice.
Quotes from: On Beyond Zebra
“It’s high time you were shown
That you really don’t know
All there is to be known.”
Lesson learned: No matter how much you think you know, there is always more to learn.
Quotes from: Yertle the Turtle
“I know up on top you are seeing great sights,
But down here on the bottom,
We too should have rights”.
Lesson learned: Everyone deserves equal rights.
Quotes from: The King’s Stilts
“And when they played they really PLAYED. And when they worked they really WORKED.”
Lesson learned: Work hard at your job, or school, but take time to relax too!
Quotes from: Horton Hatches the Egg!
“I meant what I said
And I said what I meant
An elephant’s faithful
One hundred percent!
Lesson learned: We aren’t elephants, but we should all strive to be true to our word!
One of Dr. Seuss’ most popular lessons is that individuality should be celebrated. K12 recognizes the importance of individuality and strives to provide every K12 student with an individualized learning plan that coincides with that student’s lifestyle and how they learn best. To find out more about how K12 curriculum can be tailored to your needs, request a free info kit.
* This post originally published in November 2013 and has been revised and republished.