Six Dr. Seuss Books to No Longer Be Published, Due to Racist, Insensitive Imagery

Dr. Seuss’ Six Books – Including And to think I saw it on Mulberry Street and If I Ran the Zoo – will cease to be published because of racist and insensitive images, the author’s heritage preservation and protection business said on Tuesday.

“These books portray people in hurtful and wrong ways,” Dr. Seuss Enterprises told The Associated Press in a statement coinciding with the late author and illustrator’s birthday.

“The discontinuation of these books is just part of our commitment and our broader plan to ensure Dr. Seuss Enterprises’ portfolio 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 stop publishing and selling the book was made last year after months of discussions, the company founded by the Seuss family, told the AP.

“Dr. Seuss Enterprises listened to and received feedback from our audience including teachers, academics, and experts in the field as part of our review process. We then worked with a panel of experts, including educators, to review our portfolio of titles,” it said.

In And to think I saw it on Mulberry Streetan Asian is depicted wearing a conical hat, holding chopsticks and eating from a bowl. If I Ran the Zoo includes a drawing of two barefoot African men wearing what appears to be a grass skirt with their hair tied up on their heads.

Dr. Seuss’ books – born Theodor Seuss Geisel in Springfield, Massachusetts, on March 2, 1904 – have been translated into dozens of languages ​​as well as in Braille and sold in more than 100 countries. He died in 1991.

The children’s author remains a favorite, with his books earning an estimated $33 million before taxes in 2020, up from just $9.5 million five years ago, the company said. know. Forbes listed him at #2 on the list of the highest paid dead celebrities of 2020, just behind the late pop star Michael Jackson. Within hours of Tuesday’s announcement, Dr. Seuss’ books had filled more than half of the top 20 spots on Amazon.com’s bestsellers list. Mulberry Street and If I Ran the Zoo listed, along with Oh, the places you’ll go!, Green eggs and ham and others are still being published.

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Random House Children’s Books, Dr Seuss’ publisher, issued a brief statement on Tuesday: “We respect the decision of Dr Seuss Enterprises (DSE) and the work of the panel that reviewed the content. content last year and their recommendations.”

Dr. Seuss is loved by millions around the world for the positive values ​​in many of his works, including environmentalism and tolerance, but in recent years criticism has increased in line with The way Blacks, Asians, and others are drawn in some of his most beloved children’s books, as well as in his earlier propaganda and advertising illustrations.

The National Education Association, which established Reading Day across America in 1998 and deliberately aligns it with Geisel’s date of birth, for several years took Seuss seriously and encouraged a more varied reading list for children. .

School districts around the country have also dropped Dr. Seuss, prompting Loudoun County, Virginia, schools just outside Washington, D.C., to dismiss rumors last month that they banned books altogether.

“Research in recent years has revealed strong racism in many books written/illustrated by Dr. Seuss,” the school district said in a statement.

For the country’s libraries, what to do with the recall of Seuss books continues to cause a long-standing conflict between the values ​​of free speech and the recognition that some content may cause harm. harm. Deborah Caldwell-Stone, head of the American Library Association’s Office of Intellectual Freedom, said libraries rarely take a book even if some find it racist or offensive. They are more likely to place it in a less prominent position or choose not to advertise it.

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“Shelf space is precious, and librarians often periodically destroy book collections and discard some titles. But they usually do because no one is asking for that book anymore,” she said.

In 2018, a Dr Seuss museum in his hometown of Springfield removed an Asian patterned mural.

The cat in the hatone of Seuss’ most famous books, has also received much criticism, but will continue to be published to this day.

However, Dr Seuss Enterprises said it was “committed to listening and learning and will continue to review our entire portfolio”.

The move to stop publishing the book drew an immediate reaction on social media from those who called it another example of “cultural cancellation”.

“We now have a foundation book that records the authors they have contributed to. Well done, people,” tweeted conservative commentator and author Ben Shapiro.

Others approved the decision.

“The books we share with our children are very important. Books shape their worldview and tell them how to relate to the people, places, and ideas around them. As adults, we must examine the worldview we are creating for our children, including a careful re-examination of our favorites,” said Rebekah Fitzsimmons, teaching assistant at Carnegie Mellon University, tweeted.

Many other popular children’s series have been criticized in recent years for alleged racism.

In the 2007 book, Should we burn Babar?Author and educator Herbert R. Kohl considers the books “Babar the Elephant” a celebration of colonialism because of the way the title character leaves the forest and then returns to “civilized” the his animals.

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One of the books, Babar’s Travels, was removed from the shelves of a British library in 2012 because of alleged stereotypes about Africans. Critics were also at fault Curious George books for their premise about a white man bringing home a monkey from Africa.

And Laura Ingalls Wilder’s depiction of Native Americans in her Little House on the Prairie novels have been faulty so often that the American Library Association removed her name in 2018 from the lifetime achievement awards it awards each year. The association still awards the Geisel Award for “best American book for a beginner published in English in the United States during the previous year”.

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