An elementary school librarian in Massachusetts declined a donation of Dr. Seuss books from first lady Melania Trump, calling the genre of books a “cliché.”
Liz Phipps Soeiro, the librarian of Cambridgeport Elementary School, published a letter thanking Trump for the donation but said the school had no “need” for the books.
Soeiro proceeded to slam the Dr. Seuss books as being a “cliché” choice and “a tired and worn ambassador for children’s literature.”
She also used the opportunity to call for improvement in the public school system.
“Meanwhile, school libraries around the country are being shuttered. Cities like Philadelphia, Chicago, and Detroit are suffering through expansion, privatization, and school ‘choice’ with no interest in outcomes of children, their families, their teachers, and their schools,” Soeiro said.
“Are those kids any less deserving of books simply because of circumstances beyond their control?” she added.
Soeiro then criticized Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos, suggesting her policies and actions haven’t been in the best interest of helping underprivileged children in the country.
“Why not go out of your way to gift books to underfunded and underprivileged communities that continue to be marginalized and maligned by policies put in place by Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos?” she said.
Further explaining why she declined the books, Soeiro said illustrations in Dr. Seuss books are “steeped in racist propaganda, caricatures, and harmful stereotypes.”
On Sept. 6, Trump had sent several Dr. Seuss books to one elementary school in each state across the country for National Read a Book Day.
She included a letter to the children with the books, in which she stressed the importance of motivating young children across the country to read books.
“As I was thinking about your return to school, I wanted to send you a special gift,” Trump wrote.
“Getting an education is perhaps the most important and wondrous opportunity of your young lives,” she added.
She said it was crucial to understand the value of an education and that children should pursue whatever makes them happy in life.
Soeiro concluded her letter with another dig at President Donald Trump.
“I’m attaching a list of ten books (it’s the librarian in me) that I hope will offer you a window into the lives of the many children affected by the policies of your husband’s administration,” Soeiro said.