Jen Psaki punts question about Dr. Seuss being left out of reading proclamation

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White House press secretary Jen Psaki punted a question about why President Biden removed mention of Dr. Seuss in a Read Across America Day proclamation to the Department of Education. 

She was asked at Tuesday’s briefing why Biden had not noted Dr. Seuss even though former Presidents Donald Trump and Barack Obama did. 

“First, the proclamation was written by the Department of Education, and you can certainly speak to them about more specifics about the drafting of it,” Psaki began. 

She was then asked if the omission was because of the controversy surrounding a study on Dr. Seuss’ work that showed it lacked diversity in the characters.

Six of the titles will no longer be published because they are said to contain racist imagery.

“I think it is important that children of all backgrounds see themselves in the children’s books that they read, but I would point you to the Department of Education for any more details on the writing of the proclamation,” she continued.  

Psaki expanded on the reason for Read Across America Day, which was started in 1989 to encourage children to pick up a book.

White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki speaks during the daily press briefing at the White House
White House press secretary Jen Psaki deferred to the Department of Education on questions regarding the removal of Dr. Seuss in a Read Across America Day proclamation.
Jim Watson/AFP via Getty Images

“The day is also a chance to celebrate diverse authors whose work and lived experience reflect the diversity of our country. And that’s certainly what they attempted to do or hoped to do this year,” she said.

“And as we celebrate the love of reading and uplift diverse and representative authors, it’s especially important that we ensure all children can see themselves represented and celebrated in the books that they read,” Psaki added.

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