You may have seen the announcement from Dr. Seuss Enterprises that they will no longer publish six of the author's books —And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street, McElligot's Pool, On Beyond Zebra!, Scrambled Eggs Super!, The Cat's Quizzer and If I Ran the Zoo — because they "portray people in ways that are hurtful and wrong." Specifically, the books have been criticized for how they depict Asian and Black people.
While we acknowledge that racist tropes exist in these books, we also value free access to materials and will not restrict access to them at this time. We do not condone racism, will not actively promote problematic materials and will not be obligated to replace them as condition or lack of interest require their withdrawal from the collection.
KDL’s purpose is to further all people, and we strive to provide materials and services focusing on equity, diversity and inclusion in the coming years. Our collection contains a wealth of materials that provide both “windows” and “mirrors” for our young patrons of all backgrounds to see themselves and others in a positive light. For help finding these materials, please ask a librarian in your favorite branch, or check out our booklists page, which includes lists featuring Picture Books for Black History Month and Diverse Picture Books.
If you would like to know more about the impact of racist stereotypes in children’s literature, consider reading Philip Nel’s Was the Cat in the Hat Black? or this article featured in School Library Journal, The Problem with Picture Book Monkeys. For ideas about how to discuss these tough topics with your kids, consider checking out Nashville Public Library’s blog “Tackling the Racism in Children’s Classics”.
Equity, Diversity and Inclusion is one of the three areas of focus in the new KDL Strategic Plan. Learn more about this and other areas of focus in the 2021-2023 Strategic Plan.