Six Dr. Seuss books discontinued for racial stereotyping

Dr. Seuss Enterprises, the private company in charge of Seuss’s legacy, announced they would stop the publication of six Dr. Seuss books, including his debut title, “And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street.” They made the announcement on March 2, Theodor Seuss Geisel’s birthday.

Working with a panel of experts, including educators, Dr. Seuss Enterprises made the decision last year to cease publication and licensing of the children’s books because of insensitive portrayals of certain races. In addition to Seuss’s first book, five other books were discontinued: “If I Ran the Zoo,” “McElligot’s Pool,” “The Cat’s Quizzer,” “On Beyond Zebra!” and “Scrambled Eggs Super!”

“These books portray people in ways that are hurtful and wrong,” Dr. Seuss Enterprises said in their statement to the media.

According to the Associated Press, many people, including LeVar Burton, host of the children’s program “Reading Rainbow,” agree with the decision because they find the racial stereotypes in the books should not be presented to children. 

Candy Waring, a retired Palm Beach County School District reading coach and elementary teacher, also agreed with the decision. She said she feared the children would believe the stereotypes are generally true about certain ethnicities.

“Although I dislike censorship of books and authors, I would choose not to read these books to my class today,” Waring said. “The stereotypes are subtle, but certainly present, and the wording and pictures portray people in ways that are hurtful.”

While some are praising Dr. Seuss Enterprise’s actions, others are not. According to a “Yahoo! News Survey” recorded March 4-8, 54% of Americans did not believe there were racist images in the six children’s books and wanted to see the books stay in circulation as part of the author’s legacy.

“I think this whole ‘cancel culture’ thing is ridiculous,” Kiera Parker, Jupiter High sophomore, said. “Dr. Seuss was a great children’s writer, and I learned so many things from the books. Those books made me who I am.”

Ever since this announcement, sales and general demand for the six books have skyrocketed past most other Seuss books. According to multiple news outlets, Amazon has completely sold out of most of the titles, and prices on eBay for each title ranged anywhere from $200 to $300 in early March.

“I think the sale of these books have risen so dramatically because people are nervous that they will no longer have these children’s classics around,” Hayley Grimes, a Jupiter High junior, said. “It is hard for some people because of how significant they were for many in their past and present years.”

According to the same “Yahoo! News Survey,” 24% of Amercans see the removal of the six Dr. Seuss books to be rather inconsequential. They said that even though Dr. Seuss may be one of the most famous children’s authors, there were other children’s book writers out there, such as Maurice Sendak and Margret Wise Brown, that could provide books of the same quality and educational value.

“There are so many authors who have written beautiful books of significance that removing six Dr. Seuss titles will not affect children’s education,” Waring said.