A lot of eyebrows went up when a Cambridge, Massachusetts, librarian refused to accept several books in donation from First Lady Melania Trump.
The fact that those books were written by the iconic and revered children’s author, Theodor Seuss Geisel (better known as simply Dr. Seuss), made her refusal even more perplexing.
But Cambridge Public Schools librarian Liz Phipps Soeiro explained:
“You may not be aware of this, but Dr. Seuss is a bit of a cliche, a tired and worn ambassador for children’s literature. 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 and you’ll see the racist mockery in his art.”
Things went from bad to embarrassing (for Soeiro) when photos from just two years ago began to circulate:
— CPORT | Specialists (@Cport_Special) March 3, 2015
Now Domenic Sarno, the Democrat Mayor of Seuss’s hometown, Springfield, Massachusetts, has weighed in on the controversy — and his response may not be what anyone expected.
First, he took a swing at Soeiro:
“’One fish – two fish – red fish – blue fish’ — I think her comments ‘stink’ and are ridiculous towards our beloved Dr. Seuss. Her comments that this is ‘racist propaganda and that Dr. Seuss is a bit of a cliche and a tired and worn ambassador for children’s literature’ is ‘political correctness’ at its worst.”
But then, he added an unexpected offer:
“Dr. Seuss books continue to be a strong tool in our city’s marked improvements in our reading retention programs. By the way, kudos to First Lady Melania Trump for her generous offer to donate Dr. Seuss books to that Cambridge school library — they don’t want them — we’ll take them and would be honored to have the First Lady and President Trump to visit the Amazing World of Dr. Seuss Museum too.”
The first lady has not yet responded to Mayor Sarno’s generous invitation.