Six Dr. Seuss books will stop being published because of racist and insensitive imagery, the business that preserves and protects the author’s legacy said Tuesday.
“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 six books to be pulled off shelves are “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.”
The decision to cease publication and sales of the books was made last year after months of discussion, the company, which was founded by Seuss’ family, 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.
Random House Children Books, Dr. Seuss’ publisher, issued a brief statement Tuesday. “We respect the decision of Dr. Seuss Enterprises and the work of the panel that reviewed this content last year, and their recommendation.”
Dr. Seuss, a cultural icon in the world of children’s books, is adored by millions for the positive values in many of his works, including environmentalism and tolerance in society. However, some of his catalog has been criticized over the past decade over the way Blacks, Asians and others are drawn in some of his most beloved books, as well as in his earlier advertising and propaganda illustrations.
The National Education Association, which founded Read Across America Day in 1998, has denounced Seuss for several years by deemphasizing the author’s work and encouraged a more diverse reading list for children.
According to the AP, “School districts across the country have also moved away from Dr. Seuss, prompting Loudoun County, Virginia, schools just outside Washington, D.C., to douse rumors last month that they were banning the books entirely.”