Virginia school district cancels Dr. Seuss celebration, citing ‘racial undertones’ in his books

National News

HOLLYWOOD – MARCH 11: Children read from “The Cat in the Hat” book at a ceremony honoring the late children’s book author Dr. Seuss (Theodore Geisel) with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame on March 11, 2004 in Hollywood , California. (Photo by Vince Bucci/Getty Images)

LOUDOUN COUNTY, Va. (WNCN) — A Virginia school district will no longer celebrate Theodor Seuss Geisel A.K.A., Dr. Seuss, during ‘Read Across America Day’ citing “strong racial undertones in many books written/illustrated by him.

Loudoun County (Va.) Public Schools district says it has not banned Dr. Seuss books, quelling a rumor circulating that they got rid of them. The school district says the books are available to students in libraries and classrooms.

Read Across America Day, typically celebrated on March 2, also marks the birthday of Dr. Seuss. His work has been closely associated with the day, with everyone from celebrities to former first lady Michelle Obama reading his books to children.

US First Lady Michelle Obama reads the Dr. Seuss book “Green Eggs and Ham” to elementary school students during a kickoff event for the National Education Association (NEA) Read Across America Day, at the Library of Congress in Washington, DC, March 2, 2011. Obama was joined by film, television and sports personalities in the event marking Dr. Seuss’ 107th birthday and the start of the 14th annual reading campaign. AFP PHOTO / Saul LOEB (Photo credit should read SAUL LOEB/AFP via Getty Images)

“Research in recent years has revealed strong racial undertones in many books written/illustrated by Dr. Seuss. Examples include anti-Japanese American political cartoons and cartoons depicting African Americans for sale captioned with offensive language.  Given this research, and LCPS’ focus on equity and culturally responsive instruction, LCPS provided this guidance to schools during the past couple of years to not connect Read Across America Day exclusively with Dr. Seuss’ birthday. Dr. Seuss and his books are no longer the emphasis of ‘Read Across America Day’ in Loudoun County Public Schools,” the district said in a statement.

Instead, the school district has encouraged students to “read all types of books that are inclusive, diverse and reflective of our student community, not simply celebrate Dr. Seuss. “

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