Today is Read Across America Day, also known as Dr. Seuss Day in celebration of his birthday. It’s a day that many remember celebrating in elementary school as the colorful and rhyming words of books such as, “One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish,” were read aloud in class.
This year, however, Dr. Seuss seems to have been dropped from the annual celebration as school districts in Virginia and elsewhere call into question what they consider racist imaginary in some of his titles.
President Biden, too, notably omitted Dr. Seuss’ name from his official proclamation marking the national holiday, breaking with tradition of past presidents, including former Presidents Obama and Trump.
Recently, critics flagged six of Seuss’ books, including “If I Ran the Zoo” and “The Cat’s Quizzer,” under the pretense of containing “racist and insensitive imagery,” prompting Dr. Seuss Enterprises to nix publishing all six titles.
“These books portray people in ways that are hurtful or wrong,” Dr. Seuss Enterprises told the Associate Press in a statement that coincided with the late author and illustrator’s birthday. “Ceasing sales of these books is only part of our commitment and our broader plan to ensure Dr. Seuss Enterprises’ catalog represents and supports all communities and families.”
Despite the recent controversies surrounding the handful of Dr. Seuss books, the author still remains extremely popular in many circles. In 2020, Seuss’ books earned $33 million with him ranking number two on Forbes’ highest-paid dead celebrities list, behind only Michael Jackson.