Dr. Seuss discrimination
Theodore Seuss Geisel, author of Dr. Seuss collection, / Courtesy Grunge.com
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Dr. Seuss discrimination
Theodore Seuss Geisel, author of Dr. Seuss collection, / Courtesy Grunge.com

 Dr. Seuss’ collection of stories will cease publishing 6 books that have been deemed racist, offensive, and promoting discrimination. The collection is known for being made up of beloved children’s books that include thoughtful phrases and beautiful imagery written and illustrated by the author himself.

Theodore Geisel’s legacy organization announced on his birthday, March 2, that six books will be recalled. The books are And to Think 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. 

Self-canceling the six books, Dr. Seuss Enterprise  noted that the books contain language and imagery that is unacceptable and “wrong.”  Further, the organization wants to promote inclusion and accessibility for all Dr. Seuss readers and families. 

To that end, the organization already provides all of Dr. Seuss’ published books in both English and Spanish. A brief search for the six recalled books on the Seussville website did not return any results. However, the books are still available on several used book websites, although not Amazon or eBay. 

Organization seeks to promote more inclusivity

The two most well known of the now-removed six books were And to Think I Saw It on Mulberry St, along with If I Ran the Zoo. And to Think I Saw It on Mulberry St, first published in 1936, includes imagery that is derogatory, stereotypical, and racist. The story is of a young boy describing a fantastical adventure involving groups of people and animals. The characters’ features grow more and more exaggerated in the young boy’s mind. And to Think I Saw It on Mulberry St later inspired at least two of the other books on the cancelation list, including If I Ran The Zoo

If I Ran the Zoo, written in the 1950s, tells the story of a boy who wants to acquire “exotic” animals for his local zoo, eventually pushing his request for the most unusual and extreme-looking animals on earth. The book has been criticized since the 1980s for its themes and imagery. In 2015, the book was challenged by the Canadian Book and Periodical Council’s Freedom to Read project for normalizing discrimination and promoting oppression.

Theodore Geisel wrote and illustrated all of the Dr. Seuss books. The six canceled books contain his signature drawings and his typical Anapestic tetrameter poem verse.

Erika Stone is a graduate student in the Master of Social Work program at the University of Oklahoma, and a graduate assistant at Schusterman Library. A Chess Memorial Scholar, she has a B.A. in Psychology...