Six books written by Dr. Seuss will no longer be published because of racist imagery.
Dr. Seuss Enterprises, the business that preserves and protects the author's legacy, made the announcement today on what would have been Dr. Seuss's 117th birthday.
The books in question 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.
"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."
The decision to stop selling the books came last year after months of discussion and review by literacy experts.
Dr. Seuss was born Theodor Seuss Geisel in Springfield, Massachusetts, on March 2, 1904. His books remain wildly popular, bringing in millions of dollars in sales each year.
Last year, Forbes listed him as the number two highest-paid dead celebrity of 2020, behind only the late Michael Jackson.
There has been increasing criticism in recent years over the way Dr. Seuss portrayed Black and Asian characters within his works.
In 2019, a study published in the journal Research on Diversity in Youth Literature examined 50 books by the famed author-illustrator and found that 43 out of the 45 characters of color have "characteristics aligning with the definition of Orientalism." The two "African" characters, the study says, both have anti-Black characteristics.
The National Education Association launched "Read Across America Day" in 1998 to coincide with Dr. Seuss's birthday. The annual event was created to encourage children to read. In recent years, the NEA has pivoted from using Dr. Seuss's works in the celebration to sharing a more diverse reading list for children.
Last week, a Virginia school district made news when it was reported that they had banned Dr. Seuss books outright. That was not true, however.
Loudon County Public Schools simply chose to separate their Read Across America Day celebrations from celebrating Dr. Seuss's birthday. His books are still available in school libraries; they're just no longer the emphases of Read Across America Day in Loudin County Public Schools.
In his Presidential Proclamation on Read Across America Day this year, President Joe Biden noticeably omitted Dr. Seuss's name from his remarks, differing from Presidents Donald Trump and Barack Obama.
All of these changes aren't about erasing Dr. Seuss's legacy or banning his works outright. They're simply about centering messages of inclusion and acceptance in what we give our children.
"Dr. Seuss Enterprises celebrates reading and also our mission of supporting all children and families with messages of hope, inspiration, inclusion, and friendship," says the group dedicated to protecting Seuss's legacy.
If you're looking for more books that celebrate those values, the NEA and Read Across America Day have several resources available on their website for free.