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President Biden erases Dr. Seuss from 'Read Across America' proclamation amid racism controversy

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And to think that I saw it on Mulberry Street ...

Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images

President Joe Biden appears to have erased Dr. Seuss from the White House's annual "Read Across America Day" proclamation.

"Read Across America Day" takes place annually on or near March 2, which is the legendary author's birthday.

The annual day has long been synonymous with Seuss' beloved books.

What are the details?

In Tuesday's proclamation, the Biden administration made absolutely no mention of Seuss.

A portion of his proclamation stated:

I have always believed that America's children are the kite strings that keep our national ambitions aloft — the more we do today to spark their curiosity, their confidence, and their imaginations, the stronger our country will be tomorrow. The key to developing young learners into engaged, active, and innovative thinkers is instilling in them a love of reading at an early age. Reading is the gateway to countless skills and possibilities — it sets children on the path to a lifetime of discovery. On this Read Across America Day, we celebrate the parents, educators, librarians, and other champions of reading who help launch our Nation's children on that critical path.

Once a passion for reading takes hold in a young person, the benefits extend far beyond the classroom. Reading broadens our perspective, introduces us to new worlds, cultures, and languages, and cultivates our sense of empathy and understanding of other people's experiences and views. Reading informs us, empowers us, and teaches us the lessons of history. It helps us make sense of the world as it is — and inspires us to dream of what it could be. Studies also show that reading improves our memory, helps us become better problem solvers, and even reduces the chance of developing cognitive disorders such as Alzheimer's down the road. And with the right book in hand, reading can nourish not only our minds, but our souls.

Both former Presidents Barack Obama and Donald Trump have honored Seuss — real name Theodor Seuss Geisel — and his literary contributions to children's books in their own respective proclamations for "Read Across America Day."

In 2015, Obama said, "The works of Theodor Seuss Geisel, better known to us as Dr. Seuss, have sparked a love for reading in generations of students. His whimsical wordplay and curious character inspire children to dream big and remind readers of all ages that 'A person's a person no matter how small.'"

In 2018, Trump prompted Americans to "always remember the still vibrant words of Dr. Seuss: 'You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself in any direction you choose.'"

The news comes as some progressive groups have sought to "cancel" the author for what they say are racial undertones in the beloved author's writing.

A 2019 study from the Conscious Kid's Library and the University of California, San Diego found that "of the 2,240 (identified) human characters [in Seuss' books], there are forty-five characters of color representing 2% of the total number of human characters."

"Notably, every character of color is male. Males of color are only presented in subservient, exotified, or dehumanized roles," the study also said, according to USA Today. "This also remains true in their relation to white characters. Most startling is the complete invisibility and absence of women and girls of color across Seuss' entire children's book collection."

What else is there to know?

More reports emerged on Tuesday revealing that Dr. Seuss Enterprises will no longer print six books because of reported "racist and insensitive imagery."

Those books included in the decision include "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."

In a statement to the Associated Press, a spokesperson for Dr. Seuss Enterprises said, "These books portray people in ways that are hurtful and wrong."

"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," it added.

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