Dr. Seuss Enterprises will cease publication of some works that include “hurtful” portrayals of cultural stereotypes, the company announced Tuesday, on what would have been Theodor Seuss Geisel’s 117th birthday.
The famed children’s author, who has sold hundreds of millions of books across the globe, has been criticized for his racist depictions of people of color. Last year, after consulting educators and other experts, the company that manages the author’s work decided to discontinue six titles, including “If I Ran the Zoo,” “And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street” and “McElligot’s Pool.”
“These books portray people in ways that are hurtful and wrong,” Dr. Seuss Enterprises said in a statement.
Dr. Seuss Enterprises, a division of Random House Children’s Books and Penguin Random House, did not immediately respond to a request from The Washington Post for additional details about the decision to stop printing the books.
Dr. Seuss Enterprises made the announcement on national “Read Across America Day,” which has been celebrated in tandem with Dr. Seuss’s birthday since its inception in 1998, to champion reading for U.S. children. In recent years, the National Education Association has tried to disentangle the day from Dr. Seuss and celebrate “a nation of diverse readers.” Unlike past presidents, Biden did not mention Dr. Seuss when he gave his “Read Across America Day” proclamation earlier this week.
Before his work as a children’s author, Geisel penned scores of racist ads and political cartoons that included racial slurs and that depicted Black people as savages in grass skirts, Asian people with slits for eyes and Middle Eastern characters wearing turbans and riding camels. In college, he wrote a minstrel show and performed it in blackface.