Several Dr. Seuss books are being re-evaluated by Canadian librarians and educators due to racist and inappropriate images in the books.

Dr. Seuss Enterprises, the company that protects the children’s author’s legacy, stated on Tuesday that it would stop selling six books – including “And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street” and “If I Ran a Zoo” – that represent people in “hurtful and inappropriate” ways.

“McElligot’s Pool,” “On Beyond Zebra!,” “Scrambled Eggs Super!,” and “The Cat’s Quizzer” are all affected by the decision, which was taken last year after an assessment of the firm’s catalogue, according to the company.

The Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board in southern Ontario quickly followed suit, informing parents and employees that around 80 copies of these works were being removed from its libraries.

In a statement released Tuesday, director of education Manny Figueiredo stated, “We are part of the greater community that has identified these publications as being dangerous.”

“Education delivery must ensure that no child suffers harm as a result of shared resources.”

As a result of the attention, some public libraries have reviewed their Dr. Seuss collections.

According to a representative for the Toronto Public Library, a panel of librarians from throughout the system will assess the titles in question and provide recommendations.

In an email, Ana-Maria Critchley remarked, “On sometimes, children’s books published some time ago are brought to our notice for consideration.”

“If the review finds that there are problems about racial and cultural representation, the committee will propose that the book be removed from our library collections or moved from children’s collections to another site, such as a reference collection for scholars.”

Each of the six Dr. Seuss books will be reviewed at the Vancouver Public Library.

This process is generally started by a patron request, but the library made an exception due to a “very uncommon” decision by a rights holder to cease publishing, according to Scott Fraser, manager of marketing and communications.

During the review, copies of the books will remain on the shelves, and officials will determine whether to maintain a title in the collection, change its categorization, or remove it from the stacks, according to Fraser.

In response to a complaint regarding stereotyped images of Asians, the Vancouver Public Library examined “If I Ran the Zoo” in 2014. Three figures are described as “helpers who all wear their eyes at a slant” in a book caption.

The library chose to retain the book on the shelves but no longer read it during storytime, instead promoting it as an example of how cultural images have changed.

Dr. Seuss, who was born Theodor Geisel in 1904 and died in 1991, is remembered by readers all around the world for the excellent principles he instilled in many of his works, such as environmental awareness and tolerance.

However, in recent years, some of his children’s classics have come under fire for how they portray Blacks, Asians, and other minorities.

An Asian figure is depicted wearing a conical hat, holding chopsticks, and eating from a bowl in “And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street.” A depiction of two bare-footed African guys wearing what appear to be grass skirts with their hair tied above their heads appears in “If I Ran the Zoo.”

The news that some Dr. Seuss books would be phased out of circulation sparked outrage on social media, with some calling it just another example of “cancel culture.”

However, Colleen Russo Johnson of Ryerson University’s Children’s Media Lab praised the decision for preserving Dr. Seuss’ legacy for future generations by addressing both the positive and bad effects of his work.

The images we are exposed to as youngsters have the potential to affect our perceptions for the rest of our lives, according to Russo Johnson.

She believes that children should not be able to come across unflattering images of other cultures while browsing a library.

However, she added, when placed in their right context, these novels can be utilised as an educational tool to spark discussion about racism and representation in literature.

Russo Johnson remarked, “I’m not saying these works should be removed from history.” “Quite the opposite is true. We should learn from it right now, and we should learn from it in the future.”


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