I grew up reading Dr. Seuss books. Of course, the early readers like The Cat in the Hat and Green Eggs and Ham. I remember reading The Grinch Who Stole Christmas and my first grade teacher gave me my own copy of the book at Christmas. I did a demo lesson using The Lorax to get hired for my first teaching job and then taught a science unit on sustainable development, inspired by the same book. One of my favorite Dr. Seuss books has always been Horton Hatches the Egg. When I taught kindergarten, we always celebrated Dr. Seuss' birthday with a full week of activities. Dr. Seuss is synonymous to the joy of reading, in my eyes.
Recently, I've seen teachers I admire greatly sharing disdain for Dr. Seuss and celebrating him in schools. This article has been shared, which describes Dr. Seuss' work as problematic in regards to how he depicts nonwhite characters.
This lead me to wonder if we can appreciate art while recognizing the artist as flawed. Can I listen to a Michael Jackson song and enjoy it even though I know he was most likely a pedophile? Can I read a Dr. Seuss book and find it a worthwhile book to share even if he had views I don't agree with?
I read my class Horton Hatches the Egg today. My daughter's Daisy troop (I am a co-leader) had a Dr. Seuss theme reading celebration meeting tonight. I don't feel ready to shun Dr. Seuss but I feel like those I admire will think badly of me for still reading and sharing his work.
What are your thoughts on Dr. Seuss? Can we enjoy art and separate the artist's character or is it all wrapped up together?
Kathleen Neagle Sokolowski