US president Joe Biden did not mention whimsical children’s author Dr Seuss in his Read Across America Day proclamation.
The event, founded by the National Education Association in 1998 to promote reading among youngsters, takes place on the birthday of the author, real name Theodor Seuss Geisel.
Both Barack Obama and Donald Trump made reference to Seuss in their yearly speeches, but Biden neglected to mention the Green Eggs and Ham author.
Though the White House has not confirmed the reason for the apparent omission, Seuss’s reputation has come under scrutiny in recent years for the use of racist undertones and tropes within his work.
On Sunday, Virginia’s largest public school district, Loudoun County, announced that it was no longer connecting the Read Across America Day event with Seuss exclusively, citing recent research into the racist undertones of his work.
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“Research in recent years has revealed strong racial undertones in many books written/illustrated by Dr Seuss,” said a spokesperson, per The Washington Post.
“Given this research, and LCPS’ focus on equity and culturally responsive instruction, LCPS has provided guidance to schools in the past couple of years to not connect Read Across America Day with Dr. Seuss’ birthday exclusively.”
However, the organisation added that while the author and his books are “no longer the emphasis” of the event, they “have not been banned” and are “still available to students in our libraries and classrooms”.