Sales for some popular Dr. Seuss titles have soared on Amazon and Barnes and Noble following the announcement that six of the children’s book author’s titles would stop being published because of racist and insensitive imagery.
Dr. Seuss titles including “The Cat in The Hat,” “Oh, The Places You’ll Go” and “Green Eggs and Ham” made up nine of both Amazon’s and Barnes and Noble’s top 10 best-seller lists as of Thursday morning.
None of the six books that Dr. Seuss Enterprises plan to discontinue – “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” – cracked the top 100.
On Tuesday, Dr. Seuss Enterprises, the business that preserves and protects the author’s legacy, announced it would cease sales of these books.
“These books portray people in ways that are hurtful and wrong,” Dr. Seuss Enterprises told The Associated Press in a statement that coincided with the late author and illustrator’s birthday.
Books by Dr. Seuss — who was born Theodor Seuss Geisel in Springfield, Massachusetts, on March 2, 1904 —- have been translated into dozens of languages as well as in braille and are sold in more than 100 countries. He died in 1991.
He remains popular, earning an estimated $33 million before taxes in 2020, up from just $9.5 million five years ago, the company said. Forbes listed him No. 2 on its highest-paid dead celebrities of 2020, behind only the late pop star Michael Jackson.
As adored as Dr. Seuss is by millions around the world for the positive values in many of his works, including environmentalism and tolerance, there has been increasing criticism in recent years over the way Blacks, Asians and others are drawn in some of his most beloved children’s books, as well as in his earlier advertising and propaganda illustrations.
The National Education Association, which founded Read Across America Day in 1998 and deliberately aligned it with Geisel’s birthday, has for several years deemphasized Seuss and encouraged a more diverse reading list for children.
School districts across the country have also moved away from Dr. Seuss, prompting Loudoun County, Virginia, schools just outside Washington, D.C., to douse rumors last month that they were banning the books entirely.
‘Read Across America Day,’ once synonymous with Dr. Seuss, is diversifying. Here’s why things have changed.
“Research in recent years has revealed strong racial undertones in many books written/illustrated by Dr. Seuss,” the school district said in a statement.
In 2017, a school librarian in Cambridge, Massachusetts, criticized a gift of 10 Seuss books from first lady Melania Trump, saying many of his works were “steeped in racist propaganda, caricatures, and harmful stereotypes.”
In 2018, a Dr. Seuss museum in his hometown of Springfield removed a mural that included an Asian stereotype.
“The Cat in the Hat,” one of Seuss’ most popular books, has received criticism, too, but will continue to be published for now.
Contributing: The Associated Press
Previously:6 Dr. Seuss books will stop being published due to racist, insensitive imagery