South Florida school districts react to 6 Dr. Seuss books that will no longer be published

'We are not going to remove them at this point'
Dr. Seuss books racist imagery
Posted at 6:19 PM, Mar 03, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-03 18:19:41-05

Dr. Seuss Enterprises announced Tuesday it would no longer publish six books because of racist and insensitive imagery.

The books include “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.”

The books have been increasingly criticized for the way they depict Blacks, Asians and other groups.

In their statement Tuesday, Dr. Seuss Enterprises said, "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’ catalog represents and supports all communities and families."

When asked about their view of the decision, the Palm Beach County School District issued the following statement:

The District appreciates that Dr. Seuss Enterprises recognizes the cultural insensitivity of the six books that the company will no longer publish. Engaging in conversations such as this ensures that students develop a love of literacy without being exposed to inappropriate content.

When asked if they will remove the books in question from library shelves, St. Lucie County Library Director Susan Jacob issued this statement:

At this time, the St. Lucie County Library System is not banning any Dr. Seuss' books, but a lot has changed in children’s literature since Ted Geisel’s death. In the last 30 years, a of myriad diverse and sensitively written children’s books have been published and the our library systems makes great efforts to include many titles that depict themes and characters inclusive of varied experiences and points of view. At each of our locations, we have robust well-used children’s collections. Theodor Geisel began publishing in 1937. Prior to his death in 1991, as Dr.Seuss, he published 45 titles. The library system has copies of 43 of them, including the six titles that his estate has decided to no longer publish. In deciding whether a specific book is part of our Library’s collection, we are guided by the Board approved Collection Management Policy. Library staff will review these six titles and decide if they still meet our collection criteria.

The Okeechobee County School District issued the following statement about the books:

We are not going to remove them at this point. We will ensure that they are not highlighted or used for read-alouds in classrooms.

Martin County School District had this to say about the books:

Libraries do not endorse all materials in their collections however, in support of the American Library Association's Freedom to Read Statement we do support the opportunity for prompting discussion of controversial topics. Maintaining a whole collection of books and not censoring titles allows for historical items in the collection to give context to those time periods and add value to conversations surrounding these topics, no matter whether they are right or wrong.