A Virginia school district has elected to drop Dr. Seuss from its annual Read Across America event, citing “strong racial undertones.” The event occurs on March 2, which falls on Dr. Seuss’s birthday, causing the event to focus on his popular children’s books.
According to Deadline, Loudon County schools will instead focus on books they believe are more “inclusive and diverse and reflective of our student community,” a school spokesman said.
“Research in recent years has revealed strong racial undertones in many books written/illustrated by Dr. Seuss. Given this Research and LCPS’ focus on equity and culturally responsive instruction, LCPS has provided guidance to schools in the past couple of years to not connect Read Across America Day with Dr. Seuss’ birthday exclusively,” Wayde B. Byard, the spokesman for the school, said.
Despite being removed from the Read Across America event, the books have not been banned by the district. They will still be present in the district’s libraries and classrooms.
Dr. Seuss, real name Theodore Geisel, has previously come under fire for cartoons he did before becoming a well-known children’s author. The cartoons featured racist overtones, and when questioned about them, he chalked it up to that’s “just the way things were 50 years ago.”
A 2019 report that examined his books claimed that some “feature animal or non-human characters that transmit Orientalist, anti-Black, and White supremacist messaging through allegories and symbolism.”