When America declared war against Germany on April 6, 1917, Ted was just 13 years old. Almost overnight Ted’s family, proud German-Americans were shunned by friends and neighbors. Hatred and discrimination against German-Americans were witnessed all over Springfield and books in German were removed from the library.
The discrimination Ted encountered as a teen in all likelihood had a deep influence on his children’s books in later years. Many who have studied Seuss carefully feel that it is probably most evident in The Sneetches and Other Stories (1961) where a group of Sneetches, who have stars on their bellies, discriminate against Sneetches that don’t have stars on their belly.