Mrs Trump’s packages of the much-loved Dr Seuss books were distributed across the country to celebrate National Read-a-Book Day earlier this month.
The White House website said she worked with the Department of Education to identify schools with programmes that have ‘achieved high standards of excellence, recognised by State and National awards and Blue Ribbon Awards’.It said the First Lady would send each of those schools 10 books, including one of her favourites she and her son have read together called ‘Oh, the Places You’ll Go!’
But a librarian at Cambridgeport Elementary School in Cambridge, Massachusetts, wrote a blog post explaining why she didn’t want to keep the gift, and she didn’t pull any punches.
Recording her reasons in detail, Liz Phipps Soeiro (pictured below) began by thanking Melania, saying that she was proud her school had been recognised.In an open blog post, she said:
“My students were interested in reading your enclosed letter and impressed with the beautiful bookplates with your name and the indelible White House stamp, however, we will not be keeping the titles for our collection.
“I’d like to respectfully offer my explanation.”
“School libraries around the country are being shuttered,” she continued.
“Cities like Philadelphia, Chicago, and Detroit are suffering through expansion, privatisation, 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?So, my school doesn’t have a NEED for these books.
“And then there’s the matter of the books themselves. You may not be aware of this, but Dr Seuss is a bit of a cliché, a tired and worn ambassador for children’s literature.
“As First Lady of the United States, you have an incredible platform with world-class resources at your fingertips.”
Just down the street you have access to a phenomenal children’s librarian: Dr Carla Hayden, the current Librarian of Congress. I have no doubt Dr Hayden would have given you some stellar recommendations.”
“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.”
Ms Soeiro’s post ended by saying that Melania’s gesture was a “wonderful” one, “if one that could have been better thought out”.
She also said she’d attach a list of 10 books that she hoped would give Melania a window into the lives of many children affected by Donald Trump’s policies.
Culled from Daily Mirror