Dr. Seuss dominate this week’s USA TODAY Best-Selling Books list with “The Cat in the Hat” taking the No. 1 spot, the highest the title has appeared since the list’s inception.
Sales for popular Dr. Seuss titles soared following the announcement that six of the children’s book author’s titles are no longer being sold because of racist and insensitive imagery.
The author claimed six spots in the USA TODAY’s Top 10 (“The Cat in the Hat,” “One Fish, Two Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish,” “Green Eggs and Ham,” “Oh, the Places You’ll Go!,” “Fox in Socks” and “Dr. Seuss’s ABC”). His works accounted for a total of 33 places on the 150 rank list.
The full list will be published Thursday.
The six books that Dr. Seuss Enterprises discontinued are: “And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street,” “If I Ran the Zoo,” “McElligot’s Pool,” “On Beyond Zebra!,” “Scrambled Eggs Super!,” and “The Cat’s Quizzer.” None of them are currently available for sale from many retailers online or the official Dr. Seuss website. None of them made the USA TODAY Best-Selling Books list.
On March 2, Dr. Seuss Enterprises, the business that preserves and protects the author’s legacy, announced it would cease sales of these books.
“These books portray people in ways that are hurtful and wrong,” Dr. Seuss Enterprises told The Associated Press in a statement that coincided with the late author and illustrator’s birthday.
The news has undoubtedly launched Dr. Seuss books back into the cultural conversation, though Read Across America Day, which also coincides with Dr. Seuss’ birthday, usually leads to a renewed interest in his books and a yearly appearance on the USA TODAY Best-Selling Books list. But the number of his books on the bestsellers list at one time is unprecedented.
Seuss’ stepdaughter, Lark Grey Dimond-Cates, told the New York Post on Tuesday there “wasn’t a racist bone in that man’s body,” but acknowledged she thought it was a “wise” choice “in this day and age.” She said Dr. Seuss Enterprises informed her Monday of the decision.
“He was so acutely aware of the world around him and cared so much,’’ Dimond-Cates said. “I think this is a world that right now is in pain, and we’ve all got to be very gentle and thoughtful and kind with each other.”
She added: “This is just very difficult, painful times that we live in. We’re taking that into account and being thoughtful. We don’t want to upset anybody.’’
Books by Dr. Seuss — who was born Theodor Seuss Geisel in Springfield, Massachusetts, on March 2, 1904 — have been translated into dozens of languages as well as in braille and are sold in more than 100 countries. He died in 1991.
He remains popular, earning an estimated $33 million before taxes in 2020, up from just $9.5 million five years ago, the company said. Forbes listed him No. 2 on its highest-paid dead celebrities of 2020, behind only the late pop star Michael Jackson.
As adored as Dr. Seuss is by millions around the world for the positive values in many of his works, including environmentalism and tolerance, there has been increasing criticism in recent years over the way Blacks, Asians and others are drawn in some of his most beloved children’s books, as well as in his earlier advertising and propaganda illustrations.
The National Education Association, which founded Read Across America Day in 1998 and deliberately aligned it with Geisel’s birthday, has for several years deemphasized Seuss and encouraged a more diverse reading list for children.
School districts across the country have also moved away from Dr. Seuss, prompting Loudoun County, Virginia, schools just outside Washington, D.C., to douse rumors last month that they were banning the books entirely.
‘Read Across America Day,’ once synonymous with Dr. Seuss, is diversifying. Here’s why things have changed.
“Research in recent years has revealed strong racial undertones in many books written/illustrated by Dr. Seuss,” the school district said in a statement.
In 2017, a school librarian in Cambridge, Massachusetts, criticized a gift of 10 Seuss books from first lady Melania Trump, saying many of his works were “steeped in racist propaganda, caricatures, and harmful stereotypes.”
In 2018, a Dr. Seuss museum in his hometown of Springfield removed a mural that included an Asian stereotype.
“The Cat in the Hat,” one of Seuss’ most popular books and this week’s No. 1, has received criticism, too, but will continue to be published for now.
Contributing: The Associated Press, Mary Cadden
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