Dr. Seuss Enterprises ceasing publication of six books over racist imagery

Dr. Seuss Enterprises announced Tuesday that it will cease publication of six of the late children’s author’s 46 books due to racially insensitive imagery in their illustrations.

The company told The Associated Press that the books in question “portray people in ways that are hurtful and wrong” and said ending their publication was part of the company’s efforts to preserve the late Theodore Geisel’s legacy.

“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,” the company said in a statement to the news service.

The books in question are reportedly “McElligot’s Pool,” “On Beyond Zebra!,” “Scrambled Eggs Super!,” “The Cat’s Quizzer,” “And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street” and “If I Ran the Zoo.” The latter, for example, depicts its narrator using “helpers who all wear their eyes as a slant” from “countries no one can spell” as servants.

The company spent months soliciting input and internal discussions before making the decision to end publication of the six books last year, representatives told the AP.

“Dr. Seuss Enterprises listened and took feedback from our audiences including teachers, academics and specialists in the field as part of our review process. We then worked with a panel of experts, including educators, to review our catalog of titles,” the company said.

The announcement comes after Loudoun County, Va., a suburb of Washington, D.C., announced it will no longer feature the author’s works on Read Across America Day, which coincides with Geisel’s birthday on March 2.

The public school system cited World War II-era political cartoons by the children’s author featuring racist caricatures of Japanese people and suggesting Japanese Americans, who were interned in camps by the government during the war, were “waiting for the signal from home.”

The children’s author would later visit Hiroshima in the 1950s as it recovered from its atomic bombing by the U.S., and his 1954 book “Horton Hears a Who” is widely considered to be an appeal to remember the humanity of wartime adversaries, according to the Harvard Political Review.

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