Dr. Seuss's allegories, The Sneetches, written in 1961, and the Lorax, in 1971, are highly entertaining, appealing to young children with their zany, lyrical, and alliterative rhymes, and engaging illustrations; but they are as educational for older children and adults, as they are entertaining, and are easily accessible for teaching allegory. Students may read the storybooks and view the highly animated video versions on the Internet.
The Sneetches, as everyone who knows the story knows, is about a community of rather unattractive pear-shaped yellow birds who frequent a beach. Some have a small green star on their bellies and some don't, immediately setting the stage, or in this case, the beach, for the star-bellied Sneetches to brag about the stars "upon thars," to the exclusion of the Sneetches who have none. The star-bellied Sneetches find all manner of ways to exclude the non-star-bellied Sneetches from all of their activities and encourage their children to do the same with the non-star-bellied children. The more they are excluded, the worse they feel, until along comes Sylvester McMonkey McBean with his star-on machine and for a fee, he applies stars to the bellies of anyone who wants to pay for the process.
When the star-bellied Sneetches discover, to their horror, that they have lost their exclusivity, and they can no longer determine who is who, McBean advertises his star-off machine, and for a fee, he removes the stars from the bellies of any Sneetch who can pay his fee. As we know this star-on, star-off process continues at a break-neck rate until none of the Sneetches has any money nor any idea who is who, and McBean packs up his machines and his wads of money, and drives on down the road, leaving the Sneetches, some with stars and some without, standing on the beach, wondering.
Fortunately, out of money and exhausted, they come to their senses and realize that it really doesn't matter who has stars and who doesn't. Of course, this star war fought on the bellies of these creatures is an extended metaphor about discrimination, racism and diversity. Students might go right to the graphic organizer with the headings across the top and the columns, entering (1) Sneetches with stars, (2) Sneetches without stars, (3) Means of Exclusion, such as marshmallow roasts, and games, and (4) a Feelings heading over a column as to how the non-star-bellied Sneetches were made to feel. When students peel back the superficial dynamics between the star-bellied Sneetches and those without stars, they can't miss the ramifications of social discrimination that may be perpetrated in a place as familiar as a playground, a classroom, or a school cafeteria, or the life-threatening consequences that it held for Jews in the Holocaust. Genocides and the Holocaust, in particular, are phenomena that NHA students study extensively, and someone is bound to point out that, ironically, the Jews were made to wear a star on their clothes to exclude them from the rest of the German population, and ultimately single them out for extermination.