Patterico's Pontifications


The School Library Where Good Manners Go To Die And Dr. Seuss Gets The Racist Treatment

Filed under: General — Dana @ 8:40 am

[guest post by Dana]

In recognition of National Read a Book Day, First Lady Melania Trump had the unmitigated gall to send a bundle of children’s books to schools across the country identified as having “programs that have achieved high standards of excellence”. Ten copies of various Dr. Seuss books were sent to one school in each of the 50 states. The titles included: Seuss-isms!; Because a Little Bug Went KaChoo; What Pet Should I Get?; The Cat in the Hat; I Can Read with My Eyes Shut!; One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish; The Foot Book; Wacky Wednesday; Green Eggs and Ham; and Oh, the Places You’ll Go!. Classics.

Unfortunately, not all librarians were thrilled with the gesture, nor responded with polite appreciation. Cambridgeport Elementary School’s Liz Phipps Soeiro said just as much in an open letter to Mrs. Trump. After a snarky opening, “Thank you for the ten Dr. Seuss titles that you sent my school library in recognition of this year’s National Read a Book Day. (Sent second-day air, no less! That must have been expensive,” Soeiro informs Mrs. Trump that because they receive so much funding as a Title I school, their per pupil spending affords the highly diverse school to provide well for their students, therefore they don’t need the books. She then proceeds to school the ignorant Mrs. Trump, putting her personal politics on full display:

Even so, we still struggle to close the achievement gap, retain teachers of color, and dismantle the systemic white supremacy in our institution. But hell, we test well! And in the end, it appears that data — and not children — are what matters.

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*. 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? Why not reflect on those “high standards of excellence” beyond only what the numbers suggest? Secretary DeVos would do well to scaffold and lift schools instead of punishing them with closures and slashed budgets.

(Note: I would like Soeiro to reflect upon the fact that it is precisely because of an interest in the outcomes of children that we are seeing the privatization of schools, an increase in the numbers of parents opting to homeschool their children, and the demand for more “choice”. Also, given that Soeiro’s personal politics are driving this, I would like her to reflect upon who runs the school districts of Philadelphia, Chicago and Detroit, which group is responsible to allocate available resources, and to whom those resources are going. I spent a bit of time researching this yesterday, and it wasn’t too hard to find the common thread running through each of these cities. Further, I would like Soeiro to reflect upon who was president for 8 years until 9 months ago. )

And I’ll just say it: If Mrs. Obama had gifted Soeiro’s library with the same titles, you and I both know this letter would not have been written, and the books would have been graciously received, whether needed or not. And it would have been taken as an honor and distinction to have been recognized in this way.

Amusingly, Soeiro then goes on to launch an attack against an even bigger villain than Melania Trump: Dr. Seuss himself:

Another fact that many people are unaware of is that Dr. Seuss’s illustrations are steeped in racist propaganda, caricatures, and harmful stereotypes. Open one of his books (If I Ran a Zoo or And to Think That I Saw It On Mulberry Street, for example), and you’ll see the racist mockery in his art.

Soeiro attached a list of recommended titles to her letter that she believes Mrs. Trump should instead consider providing to school libraries. A brief description by Soeiro of the titles provided accompanied the list:

The beautiful resilience of children who stand up to racism and oppression and for social justice and reform;

Children who are trying to connect with parents who are incarcerated simply because of their immigration status;

Children who integrate aspects of their own cultures and countries of origin into their new country;

Children whose parents risked everything to enter the U.S. so they can have a chance at a future free from violence and/or poverty;

Children who challenge society’s social constraints and are accepted and loved as who they say they are.

Anyway, I wanted to point out this proclamation by then President Obama in honor of Read Across America Day in 2016. A proclamation to which I could find no letter of condemnation published by Soeiro:

March 2 is also the birthday of one of America’s revered wordsmiths. Theodor Seuss Geisel — or Dr. Seuss — used his incredible talent to instill in his most impressionable readers universal values we all hold dear. Through a prolific collection of stories, he made children see that reading is fun, and in the process, he emphasized respect for all; pushed us to accept ourselves for who we are; challenged preconceived notions and encouraged trying new things; and by example, taught us that we are limited by nothing but the range of our aspirations and the vibrancy of our imaginations. And for older lovers of literature, he reminded us not to take ourselves too seriously, creating wacky and wild characters and envisioning creative and colorful places.

Today, and every day, let us celebrate the power of reading by promoting literacy and supporting new opportunities for students to plunge into the pages of a book. As Dr. Seuss noted, “The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.” Together, we can help all children go plenty of places along their unending journey for knowledge and ensure everyone can find joy and satisfaction in the wonders of the written word.

In conclusion, you might ask, can ten children’s books can really make a difference? According to this commenter, yes:

What school librarian turns down FREE books?? As a retired middle school librarian(I too hold a master’s in library science) and 36 years of experience, I started a book bank(Bowman’s Book Bank) last year to hand out free books to the children in my former school district(where I also volunteer) who have little to no access to books in their neighborhoods…I am constantly looking for free books for them. I also loathe Trump and what he is doing to our country, but that is beside the point. You are making this about yourself and not your students. A simple “thank you” would have sufficed and then perhaps you could have donated those books to someone like me who is trying to get books into the hands of children who have little to no access…am sure there are MANY places that would gladly take them off of your hands.

Of course that would require a thoughtful individual willing to put their personal politics aside because they truly believe the company line that it really is, “for the children”.

Cambridge Public Schools released a statement in response to questions about Soeiro’s actions:

“In this instance, the employee was not authorized to accept or reject donated books on behalf of the school or school district. We have counseled the employee on all relevant policies, including the policy against public resources being used for political purposes.”

Thanks to commenter narciso, we can see that when President Obama was in office, Soeiro’s view of Dr. Seuss was quite the opposite of what her letter to Mrs. Trump argues. Note the date of the tweet:


Thanks to commenter TomK, that was then, this is now:


(Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.)


39 Responses to “The School Library Where Good Manners Go To Die And Dr. Seuss Gets The Racist Treatment”

  1. Heh. I remember Reagan getting populist with rhetoric like “Yeah. They’re needy. But are they TRULY needy?”

    Ben burn (07eab3)

  2. Why are schools “shuttering libraries”? Because the cities are going broke with the demands of the teachers’ retirement systems.

    And she is so catty! This librarian knows that she will have to prove her worth if school choice actually happens. I would think most parents would not want her indoctrinating their kids.

    Patricia (5fc097)


    I feel a little (Not too much) sorry for Melania. She is making attempts to recapture her autonomy and deflect her anti-social spouse. OTOH…choices.

    Ben burn (07eab3)

  4. I bet most families have pictures of themselves reading a Dr. Seuss book to one of their kids as well as pictures of the same kid reading the book back to them in short time.

    mg (31009b)

  5. Among the many, many things that Mrs. Soeiro seems to be unaware of is Dr. Seuss’s political affiliation. (He was a Democrat and an ardent supporter of FDR). If she had known it (or bothered to take five seconds to look up the Wikipedia article about him), she might have been a bit less eager to attribute racist views to him. Whether he actually held those views is a debatable question (he did say some unkind things about “Japs” that were quoted in Wikipedia, but that was in the context of winning WW2). However, given the rest of what Mrs. Soeiro said, it seems clear that truth matters far less to her than political affiliation. And that, I’m sorry to say, is one of the worst things I can think of to say about anyone — but her screed makes it clear that political affiliation ranks far above truth in her worldview. Pathetic.

    Robin Munn (295f37)

  6. Next question, note the date:

    narciso (d1f714)

  7. the politicization of everything

    this is what President Trump’s pushback against the filthy NFL pedophile league is all about really

    happyfeet (28a91b)

  8. Now on to more serious matters in whoville:

    narciso (d1f714)

  9. Thanks TomK and narciso. I’ve updated the post with your tweets.

    Further, I think this is important because of the rank politicization of the hearts and minds of children, and because this librarian would no doubt argue vigorously against any kind of censorship or banning of books. Further, it’s the ultimate of hypocrisy to hold one view when your guy is in the Oval, and change it simply because someone you detest has taken over. Principles and ideals should be consistent, no matter who is in charge.

    Dana (023079)

  10. Principles and ideals should be consistent, no matter who is in charge.

    Not to leftists. They have no principles other than power.

    Rev.Hoagie® (6bbda7)

  11. Dana,

    Is it hypocrisy or a simple example of the end stages of progressive brain rot? Her indoctrination led her to apply a simplistic “two legs bad” formula with evidence easily and widely available to demonstrate the depth of her mendacity. It’s the same formula you described in your Clinton/Obama piece and the same formula driving the NFL manifestation of the BLM stupidity.

    I’m inclined to believe encouraging progressives to redouble their excavation efforts is the best advice to be given at the moment.

    Rick Ballard (c15cdb)

  12. I am Mad
    Mad I am

    That Mad-I-am
    That Mad-I-am!
    I do not like them

    Do you like
    Teh Fa-na-tics

    I do not like them,
    They are sick
    I do not like
    Teh Fa-na-tics

    Would you smack them
    With a brick?

    I would not smack them
    With a brick
    I would consider
    A good swift kick

    Colonel Haiku (6c3294)

  13. I am told by a school librarian that every wealthy-district school has a list of poorer schools who love getting good hand-me-down books for their poorer kids.

    Tasteful regifting would be the norm.

    Ingot (e5bf64)

  14. There’s no use trying to figure this librarian out. She is another mind, twisted by hate.

    Patricia (5fc097)

  15. Let this be a lesson to the First Lady. Make sure your recipient is worthy of your gift. “Give not that which is holy unto the dogs, neither cast ye your pearls before swine, lest they trample them underfoot and turn again and rend you.

    nk (dbc370)

  16. Mr. nk where did you do your frappe recipe?

    i thought i bookmarkered it but i can’t find it 🙁

    happyfeet (28a91b)

  17. She’s the desired result of relentless progressive indoctrination. There isn’t any evidence of a mind being involved. She’s just another Melissa Click giving evidence of institutional rot.

    Rick Ballard (c15cdb)

  18. found it!

    happyfeet (28a91b)

  19. Same place you did your Pernod drink, but that’s all I remember too. Here:

    In a Martini shaker, pour 8-10 ozs of water. Add a heaping teaspoon of instant coffee. Nescafe is traditional but I prefer Maxwell House (Blue). A tip of a teaspoon up to a flat teaspoon of sugar optional. Close shaker and shake vigorously for about ten seconds. You want the shaker filled with coffee bubbles to the top so it’s ok to peek and shake more. I suspicion that shaking too much will flatten the bubbles again but I’ve avoided it so far. Fill a tall glass with ice cubes. Take top off shaker and gently pour coffee into glass. The foam will stay in the shaker. Leave room for milk if you like milk. In any event, leave room for the foam. Add milk. Spoon foam from shaker into the glass all the way to the top. With a spoon. Drink with a straw.

    I think it’s more thirst-quenching without any sugar, but it’s really a matter of taste. Put in as much as your sweet tooth craves.

    nk (dbc370)

  20. Doesn’t that face fit the stereotype of a librarian, though? One badly in need of a steady boyfriend, if you know what I mean?

    nk (dbc370)

  21. Tasteful regifting would be the norm.
    Ingot (e5bf64) — 9/29/2017 @ 11:09 am

    Tasteful acceptance of a lovely gift from our First Lady would be the norm. But there is nothing tasteful about leftist demagoguery. I have noticed there is a common thread among leftists that they have no manners, ever. They are miserable, joyless, hateful, despicable, intolerant hypocrites and try their best to make everybody else that way. This cow can’t even bring herself to graciously and gratuitously accept a gift from the FLOTUS because her politics get in the way of her manners. And you wonder why we can never compromise with these creeps.

    Rev.Hoagie® (6bbda7)

  22. i might grab something at the mariano’s to make it fancy – maybe just a lil cream and use the vanilla i bought for something i never ended up making

    i have to go get some limes cause tonight I’m a try the arak caipirinha

    • 5 cl arak
    • 1 lime sliced into 8 wedges
    • 2 tsp. of granulated sugar
    • Ice cubes

    Muddle the sugar into the lime wedges in a glass. Fill the glass with ice cubes. Add the arak and stir. This one is a great at the poolside.

    which means i’m a have to google “cl” for the umpteenth time

    happyfeet (28a91b)

  23. Actually, kishnevi was right. The Greeks hijacked the word “frappe” for their “shaken not stirred” coffee. A frappe is really a mushy ice cream-like or sherbet-like desert.

    nk (dbc370)

  24. that’s ok with me

    frappe sounds fancy and that’ll be me tomorrow morning

    happyfeet (28a91b)

  25. “I have noticed there is a common thread among leftists that they have no manners, ever. They are miserable, joyless, hateful, despicable, intolerant hypocrites and try their best to make everybody else that way.”

    That’s two absolutes in one day and it’s not even lunch yet.

    Ben burn (07eab3)

  26. @8. Goal posts: Trust Trump!

    Secretary of Punt: Larry Fine.
    Secretary of Pass: Jerry Howard.
    Secretary of Kick: Moe Howard.

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  27. 22, she is Brazilian or some Lusophone and wasting it- the face is secondary if you know what I mean.

    urbanleftbehind (5eecdb)

  28. remember 50 percent of trashy-assed failmericans don’t pay any income taxes cause they’re nasty disgusting losers and their houses smell like bacon grease and poverty

    happyfeet (28a91b)

  29. Even so, we still struggle to close the achievement gap, retain teachers of color, and dismantle the systemic white supremacy in our institution.

    Another long march, as it were? Oh frabjous day.

    JP (f1742c)

  30. You just mimicked Pervy Mitt, real nice.

    urbanleftbehind (5eecdb)

  31. i’m not running for to do governing on anybody i’m as free as a bird now and this bird you will never ever change

    happyfeet (28a91b)

  32. Soeiro’s laundry list of alleged Seussian racism is the interesting thing here. Public school librarians who can work themselves into a dither over anything involving a Trump family member are a dime a dozen around the country, but the fact she came up with this list — likely not on her own, after being shown eagerly participating in a Seuss-themed breakfast a few years ago — means there’s probably some heretofore unknown group on SJWs out there who are so angered by anything considered to be a perennial in American life that they had already complied this handy list of his crimes against society for Soeiro to regurgitate and throw at Melania Trump and her book donation.

    It’s the far end of progressive crazy and demonization, where even a lifetime of supporting liberal politics as Ted Guisel did isn’t enough to save him from being the next target of the SJW crowd, because of his ubiquety over the past 75 years as an author of children’s books kids actually like to read.

    John (5646b8)

  33. We all know most people working in Govt have 0.1% ability to be introspective.

    Poor Biggie (987b85)

  34. @John:there’s probably some heretofore unknown group on SJWs out there who are so angered by anything considered to be a perennial in American life that they had already complied this handy list of his crimes against society

    They’re not unknown. —-‘s Studies departments are full of them and they’ve been publishing this sort of thing for 50 years.

    See what they say about Thomas the Tank Engine, for example.

    Frederick (a81afc)

  35. Of spurs it was bogus pep, the librarian yelled squirrel really loudly.

    narciso (d1f714)

  36. Oh, yeah, I’m pretty sure Elphaba has been fantasizing about something like this since Trump was elected and was ready when the opportunity fell into her lap. Nasty woman.

    nk (dbc370)

  37. What was striking was how many administration surrogates like Rachel campos were still unaware, she’s the wife of Sean duffy. Can’t the staff apprise her of this.

    narciso (d1f714)

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