Officials with the Chicago Public Library system say that they will pull six titles from children’s author Dr. Seuss from their shelves after a decision by the business that preserves the author’s legacy to no longer publish those works.
That decision was made because of depictions of characters with stereotypical imagery, according to the business.
“These books portray people in ways that are hurtful and wrong,” Dr. Seuss Enterprises said in a statement.
The impacted titles are – “And to Think That 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.”
The decision has sparked nationwide controversy, and in Chicago, public libraries will no longer carry the titles once all available books are returned to libraries.
“It is important to recognize that what society understands to be relevant and/or common knowledge changes over time, and so too does the library and the needs of the communities it serves,” library officials said in a statement. “Library staff encourage patrons of all ages to engage critically with our materials, but materials that become dated or that foster inaccurate, culturally harmful stereotypes are removed to make space for more current, comprehensive materials.”
Officials say the books, which shot to the top of the Amazon bestseller list after the announcement was made that they would no longer be published, are all checked out, with additional holds placed on each of the titles.
Once those holds are honored, library officials say the books will not be returned to the shelves, and instead will be “temporarily kept as reference copies while we assess our long-term options.”
Books by Dr. Seuss – born Theodor Seuss Geisel in March 1904 – have been translated into dozens of languages and are sold in more than 100 countries. The author died in 1991, but his works remain wildly popular, earning an estimated $33 million in 2020, according to the company that publishes the books.
According to NBC LX, there has been increasing criticism in recent years over the way Black, Asian and other characters are drawn in some of his children’s books, as well as in his earlier advertising and propaganda illustrations.