A controversy made waves when a librarian named Liz Phipps Soeiro rejected Dr. Seuss-written books donated to the library where she works from First Lady Melania Trump. The reason why? According to Phipps Soeiro, the Dr. Seuss books and Seuss’s books had alleged racist undertones.
In her open letter that outlined her decision, the librarian said, “You may not be aware of this, but Dr. Seuss is a bit of a cliché, a tired and worn ambassador for children’s literature…Dr. Seuss’s illustrations are steeped in racist propaganda, caricatures, and harmful stereotypes.”
The First Lady donated the books to the Cambridge, Massachusetts library where Soeiro works to celebrate “National Read a Book Day.” A statement from the First Lady mentioned that it was “unfortunate” that this donation became a controversy
However, a social media photo emerged after some investigation where the librarian was pictured with a hat from a Dr. Seuss character in the book “Cat in the Hat.”
The ultimate irony is that Dr. Suess was a lifelong progressive. “Of all the significant cultural figures finding new relevance during a turbulent news cycle, one of the more intriguing is Dr. Seuss,” Sophie Gilbert writes in The Atlantic. “The German American cartoonist and author, born Theodor Seuss Geisel, is best known for his children’s books, The Cat in the Hat, The Lorax, and Horton Hears a Who among them.”
“But for two years starting in 1941, Geisel worked as a political cartoonist for the liberal New York newspaper PM, crafting more than 400 cartoons on the subject of World War Two. One of these in particular, a drawing lampooning the non-Interventionist America First movement, has been reemerging recently amid protests against President Trump’s executive order barring immigrants and refugees from seven Muslim-majority countries.”
But you will never find them with the cat in the hat.