By: Kate Yu Date: 03/14/21
Theodor Geisel, or widely known as Dr. Seuss, started his career as a children’s book author in the summer of 1936. The first book he published in 1937 was called “And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street” and he came up with this book while scribbling rhymes to entertain himself during a storm. After debuting with this book, he went on to publish more than 60 books, some selling more than 700 million copies globally. He eventually became one of the world’s most popular children’s book authors.
However, recently some of Dr. Seuss’s books have been coming off market online. Although his books have been labeled to be one of the best children’s books in the world, some parts of his works have not been developed in the best direction. An example of this could be found in the first book he wrote which features a racial stereotype of an Asian man with slanted lines drawn to replace their eyes.
Due to this part of the book, “Mulberry Street” has been “canceled” from people online. 6 books, including the “Mulberry Street” were announced to be stopped from selling by Seuss estate in the week of March 4th. The people, rather than blaming Dr. Seuss for publishing books that could have negatively impacted the children’s reading the book, thought that the decision of taking down the books that he thought were “harmful and wrong”, deserved more attention and gave support for Seuss’s other books.
Like this, many librarians and scholars have been pushing to re-evaluate children’s books to see if there are any racist, ethnic, cultural, or gender stereotypes in them. Children’s publishers and literary estates are also trying to filter out and reject works that are “out of step” with current social and cultural values. Some authors in the past have even decided to self-edit their work due to these moral problems getting in the way. Roald Dahl in the 1970s, revised one of his books, “Charlie and the Chocolate factory” by himself due to racism that was initially present in the book. The book originally had dark skinned pygmies from Africa as their workers for the factory but after getting charged by N.A.A.C.P for racism, Dahl made the workers fictional characters called “Oompa Loompas” instead.
Recently, many cases like this from the past have been rising to the top and being revealed to the public due to Dr. Seuss’s books that came out as a big issue online. The people are happy that the authors and publishers are taking steps to teach the readers how the society really should be and treat everyone without any stereotypes.