Is Dr Seuss cancelled? The best-selling author looks to follow in the footsteps of Mr Potato Head, who’s also been cancelled in 2021.
In the lead-up to National Read Across America Day it seems as though children’s book author Dr Seuss has been cancelled. The national day usually celebrates reading and Dr Seuss’ work on March 2nd.
However, due to the uncovering of his earlier works, the author of The Cat in the Hat, The Grinch Who Stole Christmas and Green Eggs and Ham won’t be celebrated this year in certain schools.
Is Dr Seuss cancelled?
Yes, in some schools, Dr Seuss is ‘cancelled’ culturally as more and more information covering his earlier works are unveiled. Born in 1904, Theodor Seuss Geisel went on to become a best-selling children’s author across the world. However, Dr Seuss week will still go ahead for schools that choose to celebrate the author.
For the last 20 years, the author and illustrator has been celebrated for a whole week around the date of his birthday – March 2nd.
But 2021, looks to be slightly different as the potential political agendas behind many of Dr. Seuss’ stories are said to be more apparent. Many of his books, including Green Eggs and Ham and The Lorax, have been cancelled in the past in various parts of the world such as China and California, USA.
At the same time, President Joe Biden did not mention Dr. Seuss during Read Across America Day. Now, it is revealed that six of his books will not be published. Now, it is said that six of his books will not be published due to their racist imagery.
In a statement, Dr. Seuss Enterprises said they that “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 six books that will no longer be published 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.
Read More: Did Billie Holiday have any children?
Why are schools cancelling Dr Seuss?
This year, Loudon County Public Schools in Virginia is choosing not to participate in the annual Dr Seuss celebration according to The Washington Times.
As reported by The Daily Wire, Loudon County Public Schools said that “racial undertones” can be found in Dr Seuss’s books and that they’re “not suitable for ‘culturally responsive’ learning”.
Educator group Learning for Justice has been creating awareness around Dr Seuss’ work since 2019 and stated that “racist, Orientalist ideas” exist “in Geisel’s early work”. Now school districts are making changes in regard to their findings.
In 2017, Book World editor Ron Charles of The Washington Post said: “There’s been some good scholarship about Dr Seuss and his earlier work. Some are really disturbing. Clearly, his work was based on older racist tropes, that’s a perfectly legitimate discussion to have”. However, Ron added that there are some positives to take from Dr Seuss’ work including lessons about counting, wit, humour and about ‘getting along’.
It’s not the first time Dr Seuss has been cancelled
This year’s ‘Dr Seuss Week’ isn’t the first that has sparked controversy. The subjects of political agenda and racist undertones were discussed in 2017 when Melania Trump donated Dr Seuss books to Cambridgeport Elementary School in Cambridge, Mass. The librarian of the school, Liz Phipps Soeiro, rejected the books and sent Melania a letter explaining that they were “steeped in racial stereotypes”.
In 2017, a pair of siblings also took the celebration of Dr Seuss as an opportunity to educate their fellow classmates on the underlying meanings of some of his work including racist portrayals of Japanese people.
The 115th anniversary of Dr Seuss’ birth was marked in 2019. That same year, Learning for Justice published an article titled “It’s Time to Talk About Dr. Seuss”.
However, professor of children’s literature, Philip Nel, suggested that Dr Seuss “employed both racist and anti-racist themes in his books, with The Sneetches and Horton Hears a Who!“.