SPRINGFIELD (CBS/AP) — A Springfield museum dedicated to Dr. Seuss says it will replace a mural featuring a Chinese character from one of his books after three authors said they would boycott an event due to the “jarring racial stereotype.”
The mural features illustrations from the author’s first children’s book, “And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street.”
“We find this caricature of ‘the Chinaman’ deeply hurtful, and have concerns about children’s exposure to it,” children’s authors Mike Curato, Mo Willems and Lisa Yee wrote in a letter. “Displaying imagery this offensive damages not only Asian American children, but also non-Asian kids who absorb this caricature and could associate it with all Asians or their Asian neighbors and classmates.”
The museum, which is located in the author’s hometown of Springfield, said Thursday that the mural will be replaced by images from later books.
“Dr. Seuss’s books taught life lessons, from being a faithful friend, to not discriminating based upon appearances, to keeping your promises,” the museum said in a letter to the authors before deciding to replace the mural. “Dr. Seuss was a product of his era and his attitudes evolved over time.”
The children’s authors declined an invitation to the museum’s inaugural Children’s Literature Festival, which was set for Oct. 14 before being canceled. After the museum offered to take down the mural, the authors said they would attend, but the museum has not said if the festival is back on.
This is the second controversy involving Dr. Seuss in recent weeks.
Last month, a Cambridge librarian rejected Dr. Seuss books donated by First Lady Melania Trump, calling the author “a bit of a cliché, a tired and worn ambassador for children’s literature.”
The mayor of Springfield has since invited the Trumps to visit the museum.
(© Copyright 2017 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)