Read Across America Separated from Seuss; Seuss Cuts Titles

celebrate reading

Read Across America, sponsored by the National Education Association, is a chance to get kids excited about reading. The annual celebration has also historically been tied to the March 2 birthday of prolific picture book author Dr. Seuss. But after years of escalating criticism of Seuss’s books for racist and anti-Semitic themes, imagery, and tone, the NEA began carving out an identity for the day separate from Seuss. It focused on inclusion, designing an event to “create and celebrate a nation of diverse readers,” and cut its partnership with Dr. Seuss Enterprises.

Today, Dr. Seuss Enterprises released a statement announcing it has cut six titles from the Seuss catalog, saying, “These books portray people in ways that are hurtful and wrong.”

These are the titles no longer in circulation: And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry StreetIf I Ran the Zoo, McElligot’s Pool, On Beyond Zebra!, Scrambled Eggs Super!, and The Cat’s Quizzer.

Moreover this year, President Biden broke with a tradition of mentioning Seuss’s name in his Read Across America statement, and a Virginia school district made a point of separating the day from Seuss. Amid rumors Seuss’s work had actually been banned from its libraries entirely, the Loudon County school district released a statement clarifying that they “continue to encourage our young readers to read all types of books that are inclusive, diverse and reflective of our student community, not simply celebrate Dr. Seuss.”

((For more on racism, bigotry, and anti-Semitism in Dr. Seuss’s work, read this MUF article.))

 

Heather Murphy Capps
Heather Murphy Capps has always had a deep appreciation for comfort and elegance. She and Claudia would have run out of money quickly together but would absolutely have been on the same page about taxis and nice restaurants. And of course, solving mysteries about beautiful art. That said, Heather also appreciates Jamie’s love of complication, which is why she spent several years living in rural Kenya and then became a television news reporter, which involved standing for hours in the middle of hurricanes and political battles. Now she’s raising middle grade readers and writing for them. She loves to read and write books with lots of great science, magic, mystery, and adventure. Heather is the communications coordinator for Mixed-Up Files, as well as creator/curator for our We Need Diverse MG series. She is an #ownvoices author and committed to creating more diversity in publishing.
1 Comment
  1. Wow! A blog for authors and not a single comment on this post. I was wondering if anyone read the paper “The Cat Is Out of the Bag” which is linked to the February 28, 2019 MUF post linked above, and what you thought of it.