The decision of Dr. Seuss Enterprises to stop publishing six of its books due to racist and insensitive imagery has school districts in Central Florida, as well as Universal Orlando, reevaluating their own uses of the Dr. Seuss titles.
The books that will cease publication include “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.”
“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,” Dr. Seuss Enterprises said.
The book “If I Ran the Zoo” is among the Dr. Seuss titles featured at Seuss Landing at Universal’s Islands of Adventure.
On Tuesday, the company released a statement about the books that will no longer be published:
“Seuss Landing continues to be very popular with our guests and we value our relationship with Seuss Enterprises. We’ve removed the books from our shelves as they have asked and we’ll be evaluating our in-park experience too. But our guests can plan on continuing to be able to enjoy their favorite experiences at Seuss Landing.”Universal Orlando
“We’re in a space where there’s a lot of momentum to actually create some change around some of this, so I like what they did, I think it says some really positive things,” professor Johnathan Cox from the University of Central Florida’s sociology department said. “It says a few different things. One: that the organization itself is responsive, right, to the needs that are being expressed by its constituents the people who read these books and a lot of people throughout many years, you know, decades, have been saying, you know, while the majority of these books are great, they’re fantastic and really love them, some of them do have some really problematic portrayals of people of color.”
The decision to stop publication of those six books coincided with the late author and illustrator’s birthday, which is also recognized as Read Across America Day in school districts across the country.
Several Central Florida school districts issued statements about the publisher’s decision:
“Books written by Dr. Seuss will remain in school libraries in Marion County Public Schools. We’ve had no formal challenges to the materials. Many of our schools are holding Dr. Seuss events to celebrate literacy, as they have for decades.”Marion County Public Schools
“We are reviewing this at this time.”Volusia County School District
“We have reached out to the Department of Education to inquire about their recommendations with regard to these books remaining in libraries. As many districts do, we utilize their recommendations for appropriate materials for our media center. Our schools are celebrating Read Across America Day in a variety of ways. They are not focusing on just one author, but rather promoting and celebrating literacy and engaging students and helping them be excited about reading.”Brevard Public Schools
“Flagler Schools is currently working on an inventory of the Dr. Seuss titles in question. We will then work with our media specialists on determining the next steps once this has been done. Flagler Schools understands the importance of reading and of providing culturally equitable options for our students. Many of our schools take part in “Read Across America Day,” some tie the celebrations with Dr. Seuss more than others. It’s a choice of each school as to how they want to celebrate the day.”Flagler Schools
Today, the district was made aware that Dr. Seuss Enterprises decided to no longer publish six titles in their catalogue. In light of that decision, OCPS will be reviewing our media center collections. Literature is one of many ways that children learn how to relate to other people, and OCPS is committed to ensuring the books we share in our libraries honor all people and cultures.
As we celebrate Read Across America Day, sponsored by the National Educational Association, our teachers are leading a wide variety of student activities that celebrate the importance and fun of reading.Orange County Public Schools
The Orange County Library system also released a statement:
“It is not our policy to pull books from the collection. New copies of these same titles will not be purchased when the ones that we currently own have outlived their usefulness, but if new versions of the books were to be published with updated content, we would treat them as we would any new material and review them to see if they were appropriate for purchase. We support the freedom to read statement, which the American Library Association drafted to support the right of library users to determine for themselves what they wish to read.”Orange County Library System