Six Dr. Seuss Books Are Now Out of Print


Kian Pfannenstiel, Editor

As said in the title, Dr. Seuss Enterprises is taking six books, including “And to Think that I  Saw it on Mulberry Street,” “The Cat’s Quizzer,” “McElligot’s Pool,” “On Beyond Zebra,” and “Scrambled Eggs Super,” off the lineup of books that will remain in print. They were taken off after months of discussion with educators and specialists in child psychology because of their insensitive or racist depictions of different demographics. For instance,”And to Think That I Saw it on Mulberry Street” features an Asian with a pointy hat and other racist stereotyped depictions and “If I Ran a Zoo” has two African men with grass skirts and hair tied up in knots on top of their heads.

The Dr. Seuss Enterprises’ (DSE) publisher, Random House Children Books, has stated that they respect the DSE’s decision to remove these books from print and the work of the panelists who made the decision.

Naturally, books not on that list of six are still being published and sold, like “How the Grinch Stole Christmas!” and “The Cat in the Hat,” but many booksellers, like Barnes and Noble, are saying they’ll still be selling all of the Dr. Seuss books they have, including those six they have on their shelves. Libraries are also likely to keep their books on their shelves, says the head of the American Library Association’s Office for Intellectual Freedom, Deborah Caldwell Stone, because libraries already almost never take books off their shelves for things like controversy.

Personally, I think there’s no reason to totally forgo something that hasn’t aged well, as long as you open it with a disclaimer that it isn’t a socially acceptable view anymore and that you don’t support them. Maybe put something in there to say to parents that maybe these should be read to really little children or that they should be used as teachable artifacts to clarify what is and isn’t acceptable. But to “Bury the past. Kill it if you have to” doesn’t resolve anything, it just takes issues out of public perception and it purifies the past. There were societal problems like rampant racism when Dr. Seuss (Theodor Seuss Geisel) was brought up and publishing, and covering that up and in any of its facet acting as though it never happened does nothing to help anyone. Of course, I’m no child psychologist, so maybe they don’t really work as teachable artifacts or maybe disclaimers will be ignored and cause more detriment to society as a whole than good.

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