The folks who publish Dr. Seuss have pulled six titles from their catalog because the stories “portray people in ways that are hurtful and wrong.” This echoes Theodore Geisel’s own revisions of his work as he himself evolved.
For the same reason, earlier this year, for the 20th anniversary edition of Because of Winn-Dixie, Kate DiCamillo switched the book her characters read together. David Copperfield replaced Gone With the Wind.
I was dismayed -- at first. These are classics! Upon further reflection, I realize that although these books show our society at a certain point in time, we get to choose what stories and perspectives we celebrate now.
How do the books you read to children portray the world? Do they perpetuate negative stereotypes? Or focus on compassion, empathy, tolerance?
Now, more than ever, I’d like to see books that are mirrors and windows for all readers. That doesn’t mean we need to avoid conflict or hard topics. Life is no day at the beach! Storytelling is powerful; words can hurt or heal, exclude or include.
I’m grateful there are so many options available now for young readers and more currently being created! - Liza
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