On what would have been famed author Dr. Seuss’s 117th birthday, the company that continues to produce his books has decided to stop publishing six of the author’s stories.
Dr. Seuss Enterprises announced Tuesday that it will stop publishing “And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street,” “If I Ran the Zoo,” “McElligot’s Pool,” “On Beyond Zebra!,” “Scrambled Eggs” and “The Cat’s Quizzer,” The Associated Press reported.
The reason is due to racist and insensitive imagery in the stories.
Despite the positive messages of environmentalism and tolerance, some of the illustrations used in his books to depict Black and Asian characters have been criticized. His early advertising and propaganda drawings have also come under fire over the past few years, the AP reported.
“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 group said, according to the AP.
While the news is just being released, Dr. Seuss enterprises said the decision was made last year.
“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,” the group said.
Prior to the announcement by Dr. Seuss Enterprises, one school district in Virginia had decided to change the focus of the celebrations surrounding Dr. Seuss’s birthday.
Each year schools across the country marked March 2 as Read Across America Day, but Loudoun County Public Schools announced it will not be celebrating the author, born Theodor Seuss Geisel. But the district did not outright ban Seuss books, saying that they are still available in school libraries, WNCN reported.
The school district said in a statement: “Research in recent years has revealed strong racial undertones in many books written/illustrated by Dr. Seuss. Examples include anti-Japanese American political cartoons and cartoons depicting African Americans for sale captioned with offensive language. Given this research, and LCPS’ focus on equity and culturally responsive instruction, LCPS provided this guidance to school during the past couple of years to not connect Read Across America Day exclusively with Dr. Seuss’ birthday. Dr. Seuss and his books are no longer the emphasis of ‘Read Across America Day’ in Loudoun County Public Schools.”
The district is encouraging students to read books that are “inclusive, diverse and reflective” of the student body, WNCN reported.
Despite his death in 1991, Dr. Seuss’s company earned $33 million before taxes last year. He’s second on the list of highest-paid dead celebrities compiled by Forbes, following Michael Jackson, the AP reported.