Me­la­nia rep: Re­jec­tion of Seuss books is ‘di­vi­sive’

Boston Herald - - NEWS - By MARIE SZANISZLO

A spokes­woman for Me­la­nia Trump fired back yes­ter­day at a Cam­bridge Pub­lic Schools li­brar­ian, say­ing her re­jec­tion of 10 Dr. Seuss books from the first lady was “di­vi­sive” and “un­for­tu­nate.”

“Mrs. Trump in­tends to use her plat­form as First Lady to help as many chil­dren as she can. She has demon­strated this in both ac­tions and words since her hus­band took of­fice, and send­ing books to chil­dren across the coun­try is but one ex­am­ple,” Stephanie Gr­isham wrote in an email.

“To turn the ges­ture of send­ing young stu­dents some books into some­thing di­vi­sive is un­for­tu­nate, but the First Lady re­mains com­mit­ted to her ef­forts on be­half of chil­dren ev­ery­where,” Gr­isham wrote.

Li­brar­ian Liz Phipps Soeiro on Thurs­day turned down the do­na­tion Trump sent as part of Na­tional Read a Book Day, call­ing Dr. Seuss’s il­lus­tra­tions “steeped in racist pro­pa­ganda, car­i­ca­tures and harm­ful stereo­types.”

In a sharply worded let­ter to the first lady, posted on The Horn Book blog, Phipps Soeiro also scolded her about Depart­ment of Ed­u­ca­tion fund­ing cuts, sug­gest­ing she in­stead do­nate the books to “un­der­funded and un­der­priv­i­leged com­mu­ni­ties that con­tinue to be marginal­ized and ma­ligned by poli­cies put in place by Sec­re­tary of Ed­u­ca­tion Betsy DeVos.”

Cam­bridge Pub­lic Schools said the li­brar­ian’s opin­ions did not re­flect the district’s. School of­fi­cials also “coun­seled” Phipps Soeiro on “all rel­e­vant poli­cies, in­clud­ing do­na­tion poli­cies and the pol­icy against pub­lic re­sources be­ing used for po­lit­i­cal pur­poses,” they said in a state­ment.

In a Her­ald front-page story yes­ter­day, Ted Owens, the grand­nephew of Spring­field na­tive and world renowned chil­dren’s book au­thor Dr. Seuss, called Phipps Soeiro’s com­ments “pre­pos­ter­ous.”

“I know one thing for sure,” Owens said of his great-un­cle, whose real name was Theodor Seuss Geisel, “I never saw one ounce of racism in any­thing he said, or how he lived his life, or what his sto­ries were about.”


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