An Elementary School Librarian Doesn’t Want Dr. Seuss Books from Melania Trump


Melania Trump has a new battle to fight as First Lady, one with an elementary school librarian from Massachusetts. Trump has been sending a donation of books to one school from each state as part of National Read a Book Day along with a signed letter in which she writes, “Getting an education is perhaps the most important and wondrous opportunity of your young lives.” The library at Cambridgeport School outside of Boston, though, won’t be accepting her gift.

The school’s librarian, Liz Phipps Soeiro, published a letter on the Horn Book Family Reading blog explaining her decision to refuse the First Lady’s donation of Dr. Seuss titles. She noted that her school was chosen due to its “high standards of excellence,” and because of that, had no need for the books. She then asked why the First Lady wouldn’t put her resources toward schools that are struggling.

“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,” she wrote. “Are those kids any less deserving of books simply because of circumstances beyond their control? 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?

Soeiro then explained her issues with Trump’s specific choice in books, calling Dr. Seuss “a bit of a cliché, a tired and worn ambassador for children’s literature,” and suggested that Trump could have reached out to Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden to discover other options. Additionally, she wrote that “another fact many people are unaware of is that Dr. Seuss’s illustrations are steeped in racist propaganda, caricatures, and harmful stereotypes,” linking out to the article “Is the Cat in the Hat Racist? Read Across America Shifts Away From Dr. Seuss and Toward Diverse Books.”

CBS News spoke to parents outside of the school on Wednesday who were supportive of Soeiro’s decision to publish the letter. Parent Eric Munson told CBS, “That’s the librarian’s prerogative and I support her decision,” while another parent, Alex Vanpraagh, said, “I think the letter is really articulate, constructive in its suggestions.”

Though the parents may be fine with the letter, the Cambridge School District was quick to distance itself from it. “The employee was not authorized to accept or reject donated books on behalf of the school or school district,” it wrote in a statement. “We have counseled the employee on all relevant policies, including the policy against public resources being used for political purposes.”

While the kids at Cambridgeport School may not be getting any books from the First Lady, Soeiro did mention that they were very impressed with the White House stamp on her letter.

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Full ScreenPhotos:Donald and Melania Trump’s Marriage in Photos

Donald and Melania at a party at Marquee, a New York nightclub, in 2004.

Photo: By Richard Corkery/New York Daily News/.

The couple in New York City in 1999.

The couple in New York City in 1999.

Photo: By Henry McGee/Zumapress.com.

Melania (right) with fellow model Emma Eriksson during a 1995 photo shoot.

Melania (right) with fellow model Emma Eriksson during a 1995 photo shoot.

Photo: By Alé De Basseville/Splash News.

The couple with Donald’s daughter Ivanka at the 2004 Met Gala.

The couple with Donald’s daughter Ivanka at the 2004 Met Gala.

Photo: By Evan Agostini/.

The First Couple.

The First Couple.

Photo: By Kevin Dietsch/.

Donald and Melania at the Inaugural Luncheon, at the Capitol.

Donald and Melania at the Inaugural Luncheon, at the Capitol.

Photo: By Molly Riley/AFP/.

Melania in the White House before leaving for Mar-a-Lago on March 17.

Melania in the White House before leaving for Mar-a-Lago on March 17.

Photo: By Ron Sachs/DPA/Abaca.

5670963.jpg

5670963.jpg

Donald and Melania at a party at Marquee, a New York nightclub, in 2004.

By Richard Corkery/New York Daily News/.

The couple in New York City in 1999.

By Henry McGee/Zumapress.com.

Melania (right) with fellow model Emma Eriksson during a 1995 photo shoot.

By Alé De Basseville/Splash News.

The couple with Donald’s daughter Ivanka at the 2004 Met Gala.

By Evan Agostini/.

Melania picks up her son, Barron, from school, in New York, in 2016.

From Probe-Media.com.

Melania with Donald at a campaign event in Detroit.

By Chip Somodevilla/.

LADY IN WAITING

LADY IN WAITING

The soon-to-be First Couple is welcomed to the White House by the Obamas on Inauguration Day 2017.

By Mark Wilson/.

The First Couple.

By Kevin Dietsch/.

Donald and Melania at the Inaugural Luncheon, at the Capitol.

By Molly Riley/AFP/.

Melania in the White House before leaving for Mar-a-Lago on March 17.

By Ron Sachs/DPA/Abaca.



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