by Dr. Seus
In the book Horton Hears a Who, Dr. Seuss' biography claims that he was inspired by his visits to Japanese schools. He was making his visits at a time when the significance of the individual within society was a ground-breaking notion.
From this he derived the main theme of his book: a person's a person, no matter how small. The original title was Horton Hears 'Em; "who" was chosen for its nonsensical nature.