Dr. Seuss Drawing at His Desk Photo: James L. Amos/Corbis via Getty Images
6 Dr. Seuss Books Will No Longer Be Published Due to Racist Images
/ BY Cynthia Ross Cravit / March 2nd, 2021
Six books by Dr. Seuss – including And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street and If I Ran the Zoo — will stop being published because of racist and insensitive imagery, the company that preserves and protects the author’s legacy said Tuesday.
“These books portray people in ways that are hurtful and wrong,” Dr. Seuss Enterprises said in a statement, which coincides 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’s catalog represents and supports all communities and families,” said the company, which was set up by Seuss’s family.
Other books on the list include: 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 reportedly made last year after months of discussion. “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 company said.
According to the Associated Press, a few examples of racial insensitivity in Dr. Seuss’s work include:
In And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street, an Asian person is portrayed wearing a conical hat, holding chopsticks and eating from a bowl.
If I Ran the Zoo includes a drawing of two bare-footed African men wearing what appear to be grass skirts with their hair tied above their heads.
Dr. Seuss, whose books have been translated into dozens of languages and are sold in more than 100 countries, was born Theodor Seuss Geisel in Springfield, Massachusetts, on March 2, 1904. He died in 1991.
He remains massively popular, earning an estimated $33 million USD in 2020 from book sales as well as television and film deals. In fact, Forbes listed him in the No.2 position on its highest paid dead celebrities of 2020, behind only the late pop megastar Michael Jackson.
Despite his millions of fans around the world and the positive values in many of his works — including environmentalism and tolerance — there has been increasing criticism in recent years over the way people of colour are drawn in some of his beloved children’s books as well as some of his earlier advertising and propaganda illustrations, the CBC reports.