“These books portray people in ways that are hurtful and wrong.”
Dr. Seuss Enterprises told The Associated Press that publishers will no longer produce six problematic books by the beloved author due to “racist and insensitive imagery.”
The books are:
- And to Think I saw It on Mulberry Street
- If I Ran the Zoo
- McElligot’s Pool
- On Beyond Zebra!
- Scrambled Eggs Super!
- The Cat’s Quizzer
From The Associated Press:
“These books portray people in ways that are hurtful and wrong,” Dr. Seuss Enterprises told The Associated Press in a statement that coincided with the late author and illustrator’s birthday.
“Ceasing sales of these books is only part of our commitment and our broader plan to ensure Dr. Seuss Enterprises’ catalog represents and supports all communities and families,” it said.
The other books affected are “McElligot’s Pool,” “On Beyond Zebra!,” “Scrambled Eggs Super!,” and “The Cat’s Quizzer.”
The decision to cease publication and sales of the books was made last year after months of discussion, the company told AP.
“Dr. Seuss Enterprises listened and took feedback from our audiences including teachers, academics and specialists in the field as part of our review process. We then worked with a panel of experts, including educators, to review our catalog of titles,” it said.
The news comes on Read Across America Day, which was once inseparable from Dr. Seuss.
Just a few days ago, the Loudon County Virginia school district announced its decision to stay away from Dr. Seuss when it celebrates Read Across America Day.
President Joe Biden eliminated Dr. Seuss from his Read Across America Day presidential proclamation:
I have always believed that America’s children are the kite strings that keep our national ambitions aloft — the more we do today to spark their curiosity, their confidence, and their imaginations, the stronger our country will be tomorrow. The key to developing young learners into engaged, active, and innovative thinkers is instilling in them a love of reading at an early age. Reading is the gateway to countless skills and possibilities — it sets children on the path to a lifetime of discovery. On this Read Across America Day, we celebrate the parents, educators, librarians, and other champions of reading who help launch our Nation’s children on that critical path.
Once a passion for reading takes hold in a young person, the benefits extend far beyond the classroom. Reading broadens our perspective, introduces us to new worlds, cultures, and languages, and cultivates our sense of empathy and understanding of other people’s experiences and views. Reading informs us, empowers us, and teaches us the lessons of history. It helps us make sense of the world as it is — and inspires us to dream of what it could be. Studies also show that reading improves our memory, helps us become better problem solvers, and even reduces the chance of developing cognitive disorders such as Alzheimer’s down the road. And with the right book in hand, reading can nourish not only our minds, but our souls.
Dr. Seuss has become controversial in the last 20 years:
In the 2007 book, “Should We Burn Babar?,” the author and educator Herbert R. Kohl contended that the “Babar the Elephant” books were celebrations of colonialism because of how the title character leaves the jungle and later returns to “civilize” his fellow animals.
One of the books, “Babar’s Travels,” was removed from the shelves of a British library in 2012 because of its alleged stereotypes of Africans. Critics also have faulted the “Curious George” books for their premise of a white man bringing home a monkey from Africa.
A librarian in Cambridge, MA, lashed out at First Melania Trump for giving the library 10 Dr. Seuss books.
Springfield, MA, removed a mural at the Dr. Seuss Museum because it “included an Asian stereotype.”
Then a study came out in 2019:
A 2019 study from the Conscious Kid’s Library and the University of California, San Diego researchers studied 50 children’s books and over 2,200 characters created over decades by the children’s author.
What it found: That “of the 2,240 (identified) human characters, there are forty-five characters of color representing 2% of the total number of human characters.” And of that fraction, 43 have Orientalist depictions and two align with the theme of anti-Blackness, the study found.
“Notably, every character of color is male. Males of color are only presented in subservient, exotified, or dehumanized roles,” the study authors, Katie Ishizuka and Ramón Stephens, wrote. “This also remains true in their relation to white characters. Most startling is the complete invisibility and absence of women and girls of color across Seuss’ entire children’s book collection.”
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