The librarian at an elementary school in Cambridge, Massachusetts, recently turned down a shipment of Dr. Seuss books from First Lady Melania Trump

By Tierney McAfee
September 28, 2017 03:34 PM
Advertisement

There are many places the first lady’s book donations could go … but apparently Cambridgeport Elementary School is not one of them.

The librarian at an elementary school in Cambridge, Massachusetts, recently turned down a shipment of Dr. Seuss books from Melania Trump, criticizing the first lady’s choices as “a bit of a cliché, a tired and worn ambassador for children’s literature.”

The books were sent as part of a White House effort to mark National Read a Book Day on Sept. 6. One school from each state was chosen to receive ten Dr. Seuss books along with a letter from the first lady that read: “Getting an education is perhaps the most important and wondrous opportunity of your young lives,” reports CBS Boston.

But Cambridgeport Elementary School’s librarian, Liz Phipps Soeiro, rejected the books — and explained why in an editorial for The Horn Book’s reading blog.

“My students have access to a school library with over nine thousand volumes and a librarian with a graduate degree in library science. Multiple studies show that schools with professionally staffed libraries improve student performance,” she wrote.

Phipps Soeiro also faulted the first lady’s choice of books, which included The Cat in the Hat; One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish; The Foot Book; Green Eggs and Ham; and Oh, the Places You’ll Go!, CBS Boston reported.

“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,” the librarian also wrote, later adding. “Another fact that many people are unaware of is that Dr. Seuss’s illustrations are steeped in racist propaganda, caricatures, and harmful stereotypes.”

RELATED VIDEO: Watch: Natasha Stoynoff Breaks Silence, Accuses Donald Trump of Sexual Attack

Several parents who spoke to CBS Boston while picking up their children outside the elementary school on Wednesday voiced their support for the librarian.

“That’s the librarian’s prerogative and I support her decision,” said parent Eric Munson.

But the Cambridge school district reportedly released a statement saying Phipps Soeiro 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,” the statement added.