Dr. Seuss Enterprises pulls some of their books that have been accused of racism
By Luana Ross, Contributor
Seuss books consistently experience a bump in sales during this time of year as the publishers use Seuss’ birthday to promote his books.
Dr. Seuss Enterprises decided to pull several Dr. Seuss books out of publishing because of imagery that has been called racist appearing within the children’s books. Some have mistaken Biden as the preparator for this recent book banning. A Facebook post stating “Trump took down ISIS, Biden took down Dr. Seuss and Mr. Potato Head” was circulated on the social media platform. This is not true, and neither is the term “book banning” appropriate for this instance.
The well-known and well-loved children’s author makes the second most money out of all dead celebrities. Seuss’ organization cites a preservation of the late writer’s legacy as the main driver in stopping the print of those specific books, and the enterprise mentions that a panel of academics and teachers were consulted in this decision in their statement. They state that are “committed to action” and acknowledge that depictions of certain people in Seuss’ books are “hurtful and wrong.” Even though the organization says these actions are only part of their larger plan, Dr. Seuss Enterprises has yet to take their other heavily criticized titles out of circulation—like breadwinner The Cat in the Hat. The book is consistently one of Dr. Seuss Enterprises’ best sellers and is a constant focus for criticism—so much so that Was the Cat in the Hat Black? The Hidden Racism of Children’s Literature, and the Need for Diverse Books was written and published in 2017.
And on the topic of best sellers, after the controversy broke out, Dr. Seuss books monopolized the best-seller spots in the book section of Amazon. Classics like The Cat in the Hat consistently held first place. USA TODAY also put The Cat at the top of their best-selling book list. A list of the all-time best-selling children’s literature in Publishers Weekly from 2001 features Seuss several times but does not spotlight any of the pulled titles. Other top lists of children’s books found the out-of-circulation books to be absent as well. A Publishers Weekly article from this year highlights that Seuss books consistently experience a bump in sales during this time of year as Dr Seuss’ March 2 birthday is also a holiday: National Read Across America Day. The publishers use Seuss’ birthday to promote his books. The press release about taking the books out of circulation was published on March 2.
In response to this change, people have also been trying to upsell their old copies of the books that are now out of print. Popular marketplace website eBay saw people trying to sell hardcover copies of If I Ran the Zoo climb to $5,000. A spokesperson for eBay said the website was trying to unlist these books but several of the transactions went through regardless.