No one is coming after Dr. Seuss…..

As a literacy-focused pediatrician, I felt compelled to clarify the facts surrounding the Dr. Seuss Enterprises’ decision to halt publication of six of their books.

I believe families should read books together every day. Books are a wonderful way to disconnect from screens, teach empathy, increase vocabulary, and to organically discuss issues that may be challenging for families to address with young children.

Most of Dr. Seuss’s books certainly teach children positive values. When my children were little, we read many of his books out loud. Every night. The cadence and repetitive sounds in his books appeal to young children. They teach moral lessons without being overly didactic.

Dr. Seuss Enterprises, the estate that manages his books, independently made the decision to halt publication of six of his books after an internal audit concluded “that the egregious racial and ethnic stereotypes in the works are hurtful and wrong.”

No one cancelled Dr. Seuss.

The six books in question are not even close to his most popular works. The Cat in the Hat, The Places You’ll Go, Green Eggs and Ham, and The Sneetches are all fine and good. The estate will continue to publish all his other works.  You can still buy them and read them to your kids. Schools will still carry them. Libraries will continue to celebrate them on Dr. Seuss’ birthday each year. They are simply halting publication of six books that honestly I had never even heard of until I saw the list on the various articles published on the issue.

Times have changed. I certainly have. I used to love To Kill A Mockingbird as a child. I don’t anymore, as I feel it promotes harmful tropes such as white saviorism and centers white people as the victims of white supremacy. Instead I encourage families to read books like One Crazy Summer or The Hate You Give. I used to love the movie Sixteen Candles as a teen. When I tried to watch it again a few years ago, I was horrified. The racism and r/a/pe-culture themes are so prevalent and unnerving to watch.

I do not see my changing views as a bad thing.

I have grown.

I have learned.

I am striving to do better.

I encourage all families to do the same.

Begin with an internal audit, just like Dr. Seuss Enterprises did.

In keeping up with changing views and to protect Dr. Seuss’ brand and legacy, his estate made a very responsible decision out of their own volition to halt publication of the six books deemed racist and harmful. It certainly has paid off financially now that this controversy that should not be a controversy catapulted many of his books, ironically, not the discontinued ones, at the top of the best seller list this week.

Dr. Seuss is not a victim of cancel culture. You can still enjoy hundreds of his other works with your kids.

But….. 

I do encourage you to consider stepping out of your comfort zone, for just a little bit, and read books by so many amazing writers creating stories that are so much more relevant today. Start with one. Preferably a book you either check out from the local library or purchase from The Brain Lair, a black-owned independent book store in South Bend.

Resources

What Do You Teach Your Children About the Black Lives Matter Movement?

Review Of The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

The Brain Lair’s Anti-Racist List

NYT Article: Dr. Seuss Books

 

 

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