March 2nd, 2021 – Six Dr. Seuss books will no longer be published after the entertainment company that preserves the author’s legacy determined they “portray people in ways that are hurtful and wrong.” Dr. Seuss Enterprises made the announcement on Tuesday, the famed author’s birthday.
The company said they have been working with experts and educators over the past year to review its book collection, ultimately deciding that six titles no longer supported the mission.
Dr. Seuss Enterprises will cease publication and licensing of And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street, If I Ran the Zoo, McElligot’s Pool, On Beyond Zebra!, Scrambled Eggs Super!, and The Cat’s Quizzer.
“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,” the company wrote.
Today, on Dr. Seuss’s Birthday, Dr. Seuss Enterprises celebrates reading and also our mission of supporting all children…
Dr. Seuss, born Theodor Seuss Geisel, is easily one of the most recognized children’s author having books translated into dozens of languages and sold in over 100 countries. Transitioning from a political cartoonist to a children’s author, Geisel continued to used art to teach lessons but his work also had racist and anti-Semitic undertones.
According to the AP, “In And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street, an Asian person is portrayed wearing a conical hat, holding chopsticks, and eating from a bowl. If I Ran the Zoo includes a drawing of two bare-footed African men wearing what appear to be grass skirts with their hair tied above their heads.”
Read Across America Day, which has traditionally tied itself to Geisel’s birthday, has distanced itself over the years instead encouraging a more diverse reading list for children. With today’s announcement, and the term “cancel culture” being delicious red meat to throw to its base, several right-wing commentators began spreading rumors that Dr. Seuss book had been banned at local libraries.
Loudoun County Public Schools issued a statement denying those rumors and reminded people that Dr. Seuss books were still available to check out at its libraries (along with “all types of books that are inclusive, diverse and reflective of our student community”).
So, Loudon County Public Schools kept the books, still display them, still allow kids to check them out, but simply don’t want to hold them up as THE central gateway to childhood literacy because of demonstrable racist depictions.
“The books we share with our children matter. Books shape their world view and tell them how to relate to the people, places, and ideas around them. As grown-ups, we have to examine the worldview we are creating for our children, including carefully re-examining our favorites,” Rebekah Fitzsimmons, an assistant teaching professor at Carnegie Mellon University, wrote on Twitter.
Random House Children Books, Dr. Seuss’ publisher, didn’t provide additional details on timing or lean into a strong opinion of its own, but it did acknowledge the move saying:
“We respect the decision of Dr. Seuss Enterprises (DSE) and the work of the panel that reviewed this content last year, and their recommendation.”
Do you agree with the decision Dr. Seuss Enterprises made?