When I plan workshops for Dot Kids I always try to feature inspirational subjects. During my workshops the children not only create; together we discuss self-expression, equality, diversity and social impact.
I decided to kick off this term with a Dr Seuss Illustration Workshop to coincide with World Book Day and celebrate Dr Seuss Day on the 2nd of March. I have always found his books to be inspirational and such a clever use of language. I was proud of my workshop and I knew that so many children would enjoy it. We would use inspirational Seuss quotes alongside our illustrations. What could be better?
I posted an image on instagram with a blurb discussing his inspirational impact. The post got a great engagement. Everyone loves Dr Seuss right? WRONG.
A follower tactfully tagged me in another post by The Conscious Kid and it was then that I was shocked to discover racist content from Seuss. The Conscious Kid organisation have issued a research paper highlighting propaganda imagery and cartoon strips that are blatantly racist. The paper also delves into popular Seuss books such as The Cat In The Hat, Horton Hears A Hoo & The Sneeches, finding racist implications that I must admit I had never realised but of course I have been reading these books through the eyes of White Privilege.
Dr Seuss is hugely popular, especially in the USA, where for the past twenty years the Read Across America initiative has focused on the books of Dr. Seuss, coinciding their National Day with Seuss’ birthday on March the 2nd.
The Conscious Kid organisation submitted their report to the Read Across America Advisory Committee in a bid to remove the focus on Dr Seuss and instead centre on books of diversity. As a result Read Across America have "committed to start transitioning away from Dr. Seuss, change RAA’s’ theme to “Celebrating a Nation of Diverse Readers,” and use the event as an opportunity to promote social justice. They removed all Dr. Seuss books from their annual Read Across America Resource Calendar, and recently kicked off their RAA events in Hawaii featuring all diverse books".
How does this revelation of Dr Seuss make you feel? Will you, like many other parents destroy your Seuss books? Will it open a line of dialogue around racism with your child?
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