Two beloved - and four obscure - books that were written by Dr. Seuss will no longer be sold due to their inclusion of racist and insensitive imagery.
The announcement was made by Dr. Seuss Enterprises on Tuesday, March 2, on the anniversary of the author’s birthday.
The two popular books that will be discontinued are “And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street” and “If I Ran the Zoo.” “McElligot’s Pool,” “On Beyond Zebra!,” “Scrambled Eggs Super!,” and “The Cat’s Quizzer” will also no longer be sold.
In a statement, Dr. Seuss Enterprises explained that the move reflects the organization’s dedication to supporting all children and families with messages of hope, inspiration, inclusion, and friendship.
“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 [these] titles,” Dr. Seuss Enterprises said.
It is strongly believed that Dr. Seuss, Theodor Seuss Geisel, wrote “And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street," his first children’s book while thinking about his home in his native Springfield, Massachusetts. Seuss may also have featured Springfield in another of his books that will soon be unavailable, “McElligot’s Pool.”
Seuss wrote “Mulberry Street” in the late 1930s - a time with a vastly different understanding of diversity and inclusion compared to contemporary thinking.
Among the stereotypes depicted in “Mulberry Street” is a racially exaggerated Chinese character. In the book, the man is described as a "Chinaman eating with sticks."
In 2017, the Springfield Dr. Seuss Museum took down a "Mulberry Street" mural that depicted the character after local children’s book writers, including Mo Willems, Mike Curato, and Lisa Yee, complained.
“Seeing themselves presented in such a stereotypical way may feed into internalized, even subconscious shame and humiliation,” the authors said according to an archived WBUR report. “Displaying imagery this offensive damages not only Asian American children but also non-Asian kids who absorb this caricature and could associate it with all Asians or their Asian neighbors and classmates.”
Dr. Seuss Enterprises said that the decision to stop publishing these books is a small step in the right direction.
“Ceasing sales of these books is only part of our commitment and our broader plan to ensure Dr. Seuss Enterprises’ catalog represented and supports all communities and families,” the group said in a statement.
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