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Virginia School System Isn't Cancelling Dr. Seuss For Reading Across American Day; Just Not Emphasizing His Books

Virginia School System Isn't Cancelling Dr. Seuss For Reading Across American Day; Just Not Emphasizing His Books

A school district in Virginia isn’t banning Dr. Seuss books for Reading Across America day, as previously reported. They’re just not emphasizing them after research into to the author’s past political cartoons.

“Research in recent years has revealed strong racial undertones in many books written/illustrated by Dr. Seuss,” Loudoun County Public Schools said in its statement, via CNN.

The school district revealed examples of racial undertones in his books, which include “anti-Japanese American political cartoons and cartoons depicting African Americans for sale captioned with offensive language.”

“Given this research, and LCPS’ focus on equity and culturally responsive instruction, LCPS provided this guidance to schools during the past couple of years to not connect Read Across America Day exclusively with Dr. Seuss’ birthday,” the statement concluded.

Reading Across America was established in 1998 and emphasized the importance of imagination and reading among young people. The day has long been tied to Dr. Seuss’s birthday on March 2.

Dr. Seuss, whose real name is Theodore Geisel, has a long history of publishing racist and anti-Semitic work before his children’s books became popular.

“The Cat’s Quizzer: Are YOU Smarter Than the Cat in the Hat?” and “If I Ran the Zoo” are two of his books that feature racism and have been part of studies in education.

The Virginia school system added to their statement that while Dr. Seuss’s books are still available in their libraries, his “books are no longer the emphasis of Read Across America Day in Loudoun County Public Schools.”

“We continue to encourage our young readers to read all types of books that are inclusive, diverse and reflective of our student community, not simply celebrate Dr. Seuss,” they added.

Reading Across America 2021 takes place tomorrow, Tuesday, March 2.

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Photos: Getty
Posted to: Books, Dr Seuss, Theodore Geisel

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