Next week, we’ll be celebrating Read Across America Day. For years, Read Across America Day has included a celebration of Dr. Seuss’s birthday for a long long time. Teachers and students all love the rhythmic patterns in Dr. Seuss’s books and Seuss’s artistic style. Dr. Seuss’s books have really helped children with learning to rhyme, and these playful rhythms and illustrations are appealing to young kiddos.
Unfortunately, I recently read this article from School Library Journal, and I’ve been really thinking a lot about it. It was all new information to me, and I was so disappointed to learn about the ugly part of Dr. Seuss’s life. This article shows even more detail about Dr. Seuss’s books, and it was published just three days ago. The struggle for me is whether to celebrate his birthday with a big to-do knowing his early career included political cartoons that were so offensive and hurtful. From my reading, I learned he tried to make amends for his wrong doing, but I worry that such celebrations send a message that we’re okay with the offensive way he portrayed people of color in his early cartoons? I think as much as we enjoy the catchy phrasing and colorful illustration, I feel that it’s most important to be sensitive to the messages sent to children of color and that we should select a broad variety of books that represent all. I’m NOT at all saying his books should be banned, removed from our collections, or not used at all. Instead, I’d like to propose selecting book titles to supplement your rhyming collections. In this post, I’d like to highlight similar authors you might consider highlighting in your k/1 classroom. There are new authors publishing books all the time, and even though it’s good to visit classic titles, we also need to look at what’s new in order to make the best decisions for our students.
Corey Rosen Schwartz
Rhyming Resources You Might Like:
Another resource bundle I just LOVE are my rhyming paper bag books. I focus on short vowel word families to emphasize the sound as well as the spelling. There are differentiated options with each book in the set.