I was literally in the middle of writing this post about a sort of picture book biography that I just checked out from the library about Dr. Seuss and his writing of The Cat in the Hat. Then, ’cause I can get distracted easily, I saw and read this article on Facebook, and I had to redirect my thoughts.
The article referenced is a little lengthy, so let me just summarize it. It appears that upon analyzing both Dr. Seuss’s books, as well as statements the man made himself, much of it includes racist imagery, particularly towards African Americans and the Japanese. As a result of being made aware of this information, the National Education Association (NEA), who usually coordinates and suggests activities for Read Across America, seems to be making the move towards celebrating diverse books instead of Dr. Seuss books.
So once I read the article, I lost my drive to do my book review. Although I enjoyed the book, I started to now think about what information may have been missing from the text, and if I should even read the book with my own children. I’ve decided not to, and I’ll return the book to the library tomorrow. I’ll also be rereading some of the books mentioned in the research to see if I notice some of the imagery mentioned.
Am I going to tell you not to read Dr. Seuss books? Nope. But I am going to share with you again the article that I read here. I’ll suggest that you think about the imagery present when you read Dr. Seuss books with your children. I’m also going to share with you as one who is also #RaisingReaders, I know Dr. Seuss books have been known to be great for motivating beginning readers, that was literally the goal of many of his books. Luckily, in this day and age there are great alternatives, books by Mo Willems being the first that comes to mind, Pete the Cat books coming in a close second.
So, although I started this post as a book review, unfortunately it didn’t end that way. But I feel like I wouldn’t be doing my duty as a blogger if I didn’t share the information that I feel is important to #RaisingReaders.