The company that owns the right to Dr. Seuss recently announced it will cease publication of six popular titles in their catalogue. The reason behind the decision was that it portrayed “people in ways that are hurtful and wrong.”
Dr. Seuss Enterprises will cease publishing the following titles:
- And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street
- If I Ran the Zoo
- McElligot’s Pool
- On Beyond Zebra!
- Scrambled Eggs Super!
- The Cat’s Quizzer
Even though the company claims the decision was made last year, a formal announcement was made after a nationwide debate over the books.
What caused the change?
The original source of the debate came from the Virginia School District. They declined to participate in Read Across America Day (March 2) which recognizes Dr. Seuss’s birthday. The symbolism behind celebrating Dr. Seuss was that he inspired a love of reading and writing in children. The educators felt the books contained racial undertones. Further details are found here.
Dr Seuss Enterprises claims that it worked with a panel of experts including educators last year. The purpose was to review the titles to ensure that the content was still appropriate for school-aged children. The decision to cease publication of several titles was made at that time.
In a statement, the company said, ““Today, on Dr. Seuss’s Birthday, Dr. Seuss Enterprises celebrates reading and also our mission of supporting all children and families with messages of hope, inspiration, inclusion, and friendship,”
They further elaborated by stating, ““Ceasing sales of these books is only part of our commitment and our broader plan to ensure Dr. Seuss Enterprises’s catalog represents and supports all communities and families.”
From Beloved to unloved
Both President Obama and Trump praised Dr. Seuss. President Biden took a different stance, this year. His proclamation did not mention Dr. Seuss, but used Read Across America Day in a broader context. Whitehouse Spokesperson, Jen Psaki, said Read Across America Day is a chance to “celebrate diverse authors whose work and lived experience reflect the diversity of our country.”
This decision was not popular in social media. Some defenders of the popular children’s book commented on the message of the book, Sneetches. Sneetches, they say, opposes racism- and what better message to give your kids. Interestingly, this was not one of the books removed from publication.
Author and commentator, Allie Beth Buckley stated on Twitter, ““You don’t have to take any direction from people who believe boys can be girls, babies in the womb are clumps of cells, that promiscuity is empowerment, and that 2 + 2 can sometimes equal 5. Keep reading Dr. Seuss.”
Meanwhile, Erielle Davidson (Analyst, Jewish Institute for National Security of America) tweeted, ” “What a broken and morally depraved culture we live in. Which material would you rather your kids be exposed to?”