Whoever heard of a librarian turning down free books? Apparently, Liz Phipps Soeiro had no qualms in refusing a gift of Dr. Seuss books from First Lady Melania Trump, citing the books are racist, and Mrs. Trump could have chosen better titles.
Soeiro is a librarian for an elementary school in Cambridge, Massachusetts. To recognize National Reading Week, the First Lady donated a bundle of books to libraries across the nation that have shown excellence in education. Soeiro was less than gracious and chose to use the generous gesture as a show of resistance against the president, and a platform to tote her political views.
In a letter to Mrs. Trump, Soeiro not only comes across as being ungrateful but also as a pompous liberal who is just looking for an excuse to cause trouble. Most of the letter revolves around Soeiro praising her school. “My school and my library are indeed award-winning,” she wrote. After countless paragraphs tolling her school and library’s numerous virtues, the librarian said the books could have gone to schools that were in need:
“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,” Soeiro wrote.“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, then, didn’t the benevolent librarian graciously accept the gift and then quietly donate the books where she felt they would do the most good? Why make it such a political statement and a direct insult to the First Lady?
But the crafty lady wasn’t finished complaining – not by a long shot. Her next agenda item was a rant against poor Dr. Seuss:
“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 backed up her statement by citing works by Grace Hwang Lynch, author of Is the Cat in the Hat racist? And several other titles. Ironically, Read Across America is March 2, Dr. Seuss’ birthday, by the way. In fact, in 2016 former president Barak Obama praised the doctor during the reading celebration:
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.
It doesn’t sound like Obama felt the books were racist, and where was Soeiro then? Why wasn’t she crying out about the injustice of Dr. Seuss last year?
Soeiro was still on her high horse, sounding off with her self-proclaimed superior intelligence:
“I can think of no better gift for children than books; it was a wonderful gesture, if one that could have been better thought out,” she snidely wrote.“Books can be a powerful way to learn about and experience the world around us; they help build empathy and understanding. In return, I’m attaching a list of ten books (it’s the librarian in me) that I hope will offer you a window into the lives of the many children affected by the policies of your husband’s administration.”
Click here if you’d like to see the list of books Soeiro denoted as better choices.
The librarian wasn’t speaking for her school, and the officials did not seem too pleased with her rant. A spokesperson for the district told local media that she “was not authorized to accept or reject donated books on behalf of the school or school district,” and that the librarian has been counseled about “using public resources for political purposes.”
Soeiro’s attitude reminds me of a petulant child or a conceited adult at Christmas time who gets a gift they don’t think is good enough for them. Thank you for the wallet, but it’s not a Coach purse. You should give it to someone who really needs such an insignificant gift.
Here’s a picture of the very Librarian, wearing a Dr.Suess hat and proudly displaying a “racist book.”