It was in 1998 when The National Education Association founded Read Across America Day. They deliberately aligned it with Theodor Seuss Geisel’s birthday March 2, 1904. Geisel is better known as Dr. Seuss the famous author of children’s books. However, for several years they have deemphasized Seuss and tried encouraging more diverse reading lists for children.
As respected as Dr. Seuss is by so many around the world for the positive values in many of his works, including tolerance and environmentalism, there has been increasing criticism in recent years over the way Black, Asian and other characters are drawn in some of his most treasured children’s books, as well as in his earlier advertising and propaganda illustrations.
A Virginia school system wouldn’t even recognize the National Read Across America Day because they portrayed several of Geisel’s books as racist and insensitive. This escalated discussion of the author and decisions to "cancel" his work on social media. That school system has since clarified in a statement that it’s not banning the author's books.
Dr. Seuss Enterprises chose today of all days to announce that the sales of six Dr. Seuss books will cease over racist and insensitive imagery. Copies of "And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street," "McElligot's Pool," "On Beyond Zebra!," "If I Ran the Zoo," "The Cat's Quizzer," and "Scrambled Eggs Super!" will no longer be published.
"These books portray people in ways that are hurtful and wrong," Dr. Seuss Enterprises explained in a statement.
"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.
"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 statement continued.
Today is a reminder of the 1991 loss of the author and how sad that day was, but rest assured these titles have died unmolested. Without edit to the original work these titles disappear from history unless you preserve your copy for generations to come.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.