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Denver Public Library Won't Pull Dr. Seuss Books Over Racist Imagery, Citing Intellectual Freedom

DENVER (CBS4) - The Denver Public Library does not plan to pull any Dr. Seuss books from its collection after a study found racist and insensitive imagery in six of the titles. Dr. Seuss Enterprises announced on Tuesday it will cease publication of the six books stating, "These books portray people in ways that are hurtful and wrong."

Dr Seuss Holds 'The Cat In The Hat'
American author and illustrator Dr Seuss (Theodor Seuss Geisel, 1904 - 1991) sits at his drafting table in his home office with a copy of his book, 'The Cat in the Hat', La Jolla, California, April 25, 1957. (Photo by Gene Lester/Getty Images)

The study published in the journal "Research on Diversity in Youth Literature" states:

"The presence of anti-Blackness, Orientalism, and White supremacy span across Seuss' entire literary collection and career. Seuss' anti-Blackness and White supremacy are evident in his portrayal of Black people as monkeys, apes, and cannibals in his children's books, political cartoons, and advertisements."

The study also found women and girls of color are absent across Dr. Seuss' children's book collection.

Denver Public Library follows the American Library Association's Freedom to Read Principles, which argue it is in the public interest for libraries to provide a wide range of views, including expressions that are "unorthodox, unpopular, or considered dangerous by the majority."

Long-Lost Dr. Suess Book Published 25 Years After His Death
CORAL GABLES, FL - JULY 28: Dr. Seuss' never-before-published book, "What Pet Should I Get?" is seen on display on the day it is released for sale at the Books and Books store on July 28, 2015 in Coral Gables, United States. The manuscript by the author Theodor Geisel is reported to have been written in the 1950s or 1960s and stashed away in his office until his widow found it in 2013. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

DPL issued the following statement to CBS4:

"Libraries across the country are having conversations around how to balance our core values of intellectual freedom, with the harmful stereotypes depicted in many children's classics. We will continue to purchase and promote diverse collections, while finding ways to help parents read and discuss books with their children with a critical eye as part of our efforts to challenge inequity."

Publication is halted for the following Dr. Seuss books:

  • "And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street"
  • "If I Ran the Zoo"
  • "McElligot's Pool"
  • "On Beyond Zebra!"
  • "Scrambled Eggs Super!"
  • "The Cat's Quizzer"
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