Breaking up with your favorite racist childhood classic books (Washington Post)

Head on over to the Washington Post for “Breaking up with your favorite racist childhood classic books,” in which I point out that         It is possible to cancel a culture. There were once more than 300 indigenous languages spoken in the United States. Only about 175 of those languages remain today. Colonization, genocide, forced…

Seuss, Racism, and Resources for Anti-Racist Children’s Literature

In the wake of last week’s intense focus on Dr. Seuss and racism, I’m gathering (a) some resources for anti-racist children’s literature, and (b) a sampling of the Seuss-and-racism media. Many people have emailed or messaged me with questions. If I neglected yours, I apologize. I hope these links will give you a place to…

Racism is a National Emergency

For this year’s Seuss birthday, an excerpt from Was the Cat in the Hat Black?: The Hidden Racism of Children’s Literature and the Need for Diverse Books (Oxford UP, 2017). The thesis: Support a US Anti-Racist Education Act because racism is a national emergency that threatens our democracy. But first, and with thanks to The…

The Cat, Seuss, and Race

Last June, on rather short notice, the Artistic Director for the Adventure Theatre Company asked if I would write a program note for their upcoming production of The Cat in the Hat (June 18-August 21, 2019). They had read my work on Seuss and racism, shared these concerns, and asked if I could provide something,…

“The Cat Is Out of the Bag”

As we reconsider the works of Dr. Seuss on what would have been his (well, Theodor Seuss Geisel’s) 115th birthday, I encourage you to take a look at Katie Ishizuka and Ramón Stephens’ “The Cat is Out of the Bag: Orientalism, Anti-Blackness, and White Supremacy in Dr. Seuss’s Children’s Books,” just published in Research on Diversity in Youth Literature last…

What to do with Dr. Seuss?

The objects of your nostalgic longing may disappoint you, if you are willing to look at them openly and honestly.  If you read, create, or write about children’s literature, today — the 114th birthday of Theodor Geisel (a.k.a. Dr. Seuss) — would be a good time to admit this to yourself.  OK, the time for…

Seuss’s Matilda: Horton’s Ancestor

Happy Birthday, Dr. Seuss!  To celebrate the 113th anniversary of Theodor Seuss Geisel’s birth, here are two things Seussian. 1. The True Story of Horton Hatches the Egg When asked how he came up with the idea of Horton Hatches the Egg (1940), Seuss would often give an answer like this (from a September 1972 interview): Horton Hatches…

You’re a mean one, Dr. Nel. Your voice is full of gunk!

The holidays! When people sing — and expect you to sing. Except, perhaps, you don’t want to sing. Maybe you are shy. Or self-conscious about your voice. Or you imagine that everyone else sings better than you do. Well, worry no more!  I am here to cure your self-consciousness, and to prove that many people are much,…

Was the Cat in the Hat Black? — cover reveal

Here is the cover for my next book, Was the Cat in the Hat Black?: The Hidden Racism of Children’s Literature, and the Need for Diverse Books, forthcoming from Oxford University Press in July 2017.  Since it (the cover) is now on some websites (notably Oxford UP & Amazon.com), I thought I’d share it here. THANKS to Oxford UP’s Lucas…