The estate of Dr. Seuss has decided to cease publication on six of the author's books due to racial and cultural insensitivities found within their pages. In a statement posted Tuesday morning, Dr. Seuss Enterprises wrote that it is fervently committed to "supporting all children and families with messages of hope, inspiration, inclusion, and friendship."
The message continues: "To that end, Dr. Seuss Enterprises, working with a panel of experts, including educators, reviewed our catalog of titles and made the decision last year to cease publication and licensing of the following titles: 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. These books portray people in ways that are hurtful and wrong. 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."
In addition to being Dr. Seuss' birthday (the writer/illustrator would have turned 117 this year), March 2 is also National Read Across America Day. While it's customary for students around the country to pick up a Seussian classic for the literary holiday, though the National Education Association "has pivoted from popular children's author Dr. Seuss to a focus on diverse children's books," reports USA Today.
President Joe Biden made no mention of Seuss in his official proclamation of National Read Across America Day — a notable deviation from his two predecessors: Barack Obama and Donald Trump.
"Reading informs us, empowers us, and teaches us the lessons of history," he wrote. "It helps us make sense of the world as it is — and inspires us to dream of what it could be. Studies also show that reading improves our memory, helps us become better problem solvers, and even reduces the chance of developing cognitive disorders such as Alzheimer’s down the road. And with the right book in hand, reading can nourish not only our minds, but our souls."