Putting Politics Ahead of Children

By John Thorsson

First Lady Melania Trump sent books to different schools libraries throughout the United States to help commemorate National Read a Book Day. However one librarian, in one state, decided that politics was more important than the children at the school; and it’s beyond shameful.

The librarian in question is Liz Phipps Soeiro (seen ) of the Cambridgeport Elementary School. She returned a package of ten books written by Dr. Seuss. Her reasoning? Her letter, in part; says the following:

“So, my school doesn’t have a NEED for these books. And then there’s the matter of the books themselves. 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.”

Just wait, there’s more where that came from:

“Another fact that many people are unaware of is that Dr. Seuss’s illustrations are steeped in racist propaganda, caricatures, and harmful stereotypes. Open one of his books (If I Ran a Zoo or And to Think That I Saw It On Mulberry Street, for example), and you’ll see the racist mockery in his art. Grace  Hwang Lynch’s School Library Journal article, “Is the Cat in the Hat Racist? Read Across America Shifts Away from Dr. Seuss and Toward Diverse Books,” reports on Katie Ishizuka’s work analyzing the minstrel characteristics and trope nature of Seuss’s characters. Scholar Philip Nel’s new book, Was the Cat in the Hat Black? The Hidden Racism of Children’s Literature, and the Need for Diverse Books, further explores and shines a spotlight on the systemic racism and oppression in education and literature.”

Well, this got awkward quickly. Unless I’m mistaken, it looks like Mrs. Soeiro is dressed up as the aforementioned racist Cat In The Hat. Maybe other works of Dr  Seuss are racist.

Huh, then there’s Michelle Obama reading a Dr. Seuss book to children. I’m pretty sure Michelle Obama is African-American, so why is she reading a racist’s words to children?

How about we just go with Occam’s Razor, go with the the most logical conclusion, and call this librarian out? She doesn’t like the Trump administration (in her letter she goes after Department of Education head Betsy DeVos), and didn’t want to accept anything from someone she disagrees with. I mean, either way she’s a horrible person, but at least then she’s being honest.

Dr. Seuss books are great books for helping kids learn how to read as well as helping them to master phonics. His books excel at repetitive sounds with engaging stories, while using a fairly limited vocabulary. Couple those two things together and they make up the perfect combination for children learning to read. Sometimes getting a child to want to read is the hardest part of teaching one to read, but because of Dr. Seuss’s weird plots and even more weird characters, that isn’t a problem.

And isn’t that supposedly the job of a librarian at an elementary school, ya know; instilling the love of reading in young kids. Someone should tell Mrs. Soeiro what her job description is, because she seems less concerned with being helping children read and more concerned with making a political stand against an administration she doesn’t like.

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