Teddy Bear, It’s Your Day on September 9! National Teddy Bear Day!

Theodore Roosevelt Teddy Bear
This 1902 cartoon in the Washington Post was the inspiration behind the birth of the “teddy bear.” Photo: Wikipedia

National Teddy Bear Day is observed annually on September 9.  Who invented teddy bears and what is the story behind it?

The name "teddy bear" comes from President Theodore ("Teddy") Roosevelt.  In 1902, President Roosevelt refused to shoot a bear cub while hunting in Mississippi.  As attendants captured and tied an American black bear cub to a tree for Roosevelt to shoot, Roosevelt deemed it unsportsmanlike for him to shoot the captured animal.  This incident made national news when Clifford Berryman published a political cartoon of the event in the Washington Post on November 16, 1902.

Berryman's cartoon of Teddy Roosevelt and the cub inspired Rose and Morris Michtom to create the first stuffed bear toy to display in their store window.  Before making additional teddy bears to sell, Morris Michtom wrote President Roosevelt to ask permission to name the new toy "Teddy's Bear".  Roosevelt agreed to lend his name to the invention as he doubted it would ever be popular!

This story is told in the picture book, "Teddy, the Remarkable Tale of a President, a Cartoonist, a Toymaker and a Bear" by James Sage.


What other books could you read to your teddy bear to celebrate National Teddy Bear Day?

Winnie the Pooh

Milne's adorable honey-loving bear was inspired by his son, Christopher Robin.  Christopher visited a bear named Winnie at the London Zoo during World War I.  As the bear was so gentle, the zoo allowed children to feed Winnie from their hands.  Check out the classic Winnie the Pooh and other related stories.

Winnie-the-Pooh and Some Bees

Winnie-the-Pooh and Some Bees is an easy reader that has been adapted by Stephen Krensky.

Finding Winnie

Finding Winnie:  The True Story of the World's Most Famous Bear by Lindsay Mattick won the 2016 Caldecott medal.  Mattick's great-great-grandfather, Captain Harry Colebourn, was on his way to Europe in World War I.  He adopted a bear cub which he named Winnie.  Unable to take the bear to the war front, he gave Winnie to the London Zoo where Christopher Robin came to visit.

Winnie, the True Story of the Bear Who Inspired Winnie-the Pooh

Winnie, the True Story of the Bear Who Inspired Winnie-the Pooh by Sally Walker is a simpler picture book that tells the story of Captain Colebourn and the cub named Winnie.

Other picture books featuring bears are:


Where's My Teddy?

Bear Wants More

The Teddy Bears' Picnic