PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Several Dr. Seuss books have stopped being published because of racist and insensitive imagery, according to the company that protects the author’s legacy. Eyewitness News reporter Matt Petrillo has more on how schools and bookstores in our area are responding.
Some of the six Dr. Seuss books that will no longer be published include “If I Ran The Zoo” and “And To Think That I Saw It On Mulberry Street,” which include characters some say are based on racial stereotypes.READ MORE: Ocean County Man Kevin Noonan Picking Up Furniture Hits, Kills Man, Then Flees, Authorities Say
“I think it is, in fact, offensive imagery,” one man said.
In a statement released Tuesday, Dr. Seuss Enterprises said, in part: “These books portray people in ways that are hurtful and wrong… Ceasing sales of these books is only part of our commitment and our broader plan to ensure Dr. Seuss Enterprises’ catalog represents and supports all communities and families.”
“We will not be utilizing these books,” said Myers Elementary School Principal Jason Lytle.
The principal in the Cheltenham School District believes the conversation over some of Dr. Seuss’ work is long overdue.
“And they are reflective of the conversations people are having all around the world to bring justice and equality for all,” Lytle said.READ MORE: COVID In Philadelphia: FEMA-Run Pennsylvania Convention Center Vaccination Site Extended For Additional 4 Weeks
But some parents, like one mom of two we spoke with, say the books should be used as a teachable moment.
“I think it’s valuable for kids to look at them and discuss them with whoever is reading it to them,” Clara Flores said.
“Clearly it was a different time,” Bindlestiff Books owner Jon Bekken said.
At Bindlestiff Books in West Philadelphia, the owner showed us imagery in the book “If I Ran The Zoo” — one of the six that will no longer be published.
“We’ll certainly keep Dr. Seuss in the store. I’m going to talk to staffers about this particular one,” Bekken said. “I don’t think it’s his best book anyway. But we need to have a conversation.”
Still, the chair of La Salle University’s Education Department points out bookstores and schools can use this as an opportunity to have books that include more representation.MORE NEWS: Philadelphia Weather: Scattered Showers Expected To Move Into Region Wednesday Night
“Where can we make space for more diverse books, and more diverse stories and more diverse characters,” Dr. Laura Roy said.