Rockford libraries will keep Dr. Seuss books on the shelves

Local News

ROCKFORD, Ill. (WTVO) — Six books by famed children’s author Dr. Seuss will no longer be published due to “racist and insensitive imagery“.

The books affected 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.”

Libraries around the country and in Rockford say they will be keeping the books on the shelves.

Amy Pfeifer has worked in the Youth Services department at the Rockford Public Library for over 26 years, and says, like most public libraries, they don’t censor material.

“We offer a very great BIPOC (black, Indigenous and people of color) and diverse materials collection,” she said. “Also, libraries are doing things like putting book lists or putting book marks in books, like the recent Dr. Seuss books, for insensitive portrayals of people and characters. So, libraries can be proactive in that way.”

Dr. Seuss Enterprises, which holds ownership of the late author’s work, says the books were written more than 50 years ago and admitted they portray people in ways that are hurtful.

Curtis Wudtke, principal at Rockford Lutheran Academy, says time can sometimes be a problem for works of literature.

“So, all literature seems, to me, as being a product of the era of which they are written. Let’s realize how things are in our society today and look at things that were produced in the past, no matter who produced them, and use that so we can come to a better understanding,” he said.

Wudtke believes the books can be used as a teaching tool.

“I think to be informed and to use that information – as we teach children, as we work with children – and help them gain a better understanding of our society right now and how we treat each other, is the real key,” he said.

While the books will no longer be published, copies are still available online, some selling for thousands of dollars following this week’s announcement.

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