Rethinking the Classics

Recently, Dr. Seuss Enterprises announced that they will be taking six of his books out of print, citing depictions of people that are “hurtful and wrong.” Not long after, Scholastic announced it would discontinue production of one of Dav Pilkey's books because it "perpetuates passive racism." Many of us who grew up with some of these books feel an emotional attachment to them, and we want to acknowledge that these and other classics hold an important place in the hearts of many of you. At the same time, it is important to take a step back and think critically about the harmful stereotypes they perpetuate.

Research has shown that children begin to notice race at an early age, so it is never too early to start having conversations with them. Without help from caregivers, children can form their own, possibly incorrect ideas based on portrayals of racial groups in books and other media. By starting conversations early, you'll open the door for any questions they'll have in the future and make it easier for your children to comfortably talk about race down the road. There are many resources available to help you have these important conversations with your children. 

We want to invite you to use this national conversation as an opportunity to revisit your favorite childhood books either by yourself or with your children through a critical lens. Your beloved classics may provide a launching pad for conversations about racism, and why some of the content in these books is not aligned with the equitable society that we strive to create. 

We've put together a list of books that we hope will become new children's classics, which celebrate the beautiful diversity of our world, written by members of the communities they depict. 

Last Stop on Market Street

A story of a boy and his grandmother taking the bus across town, and all the wonderful people they meet along the way. This book celebrates diversity, community, and giving a helping hand. 

Saturday

When you're looking forward to a great day, but then everything goes wrong, what do you do? Appreciate the time you spent with the people you love!

Maybe Something Beautiful

Based on the true story of one child who brought out the beauty in her community. It can inspire people of all ages to make positive change in the world!

Bee-bim Bop!

This rhythmic picture book is relatable to any child who wants to help their parents cook a meal, and even features a recipe for bee-bim bop (a Korean rice dish) at the end of the book!

Fry Bread

This beautifully illustrated book shows the diversity of First Nations People, using vivid language and images around food to show both differences and similarities. 

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