Sketches of fantastical creatures by Dr. Seuss that have never been published before will see the light of day in new books written and illustrated by an inclusive group of up-and-coming authors and artists, the company that owns the intellectual property rights to Les Dr. Seuss’ work was announced on Wednesday.
The new line of books will include original stories inspired by previously unseen illustrations selected from the author’s archive at the University of California, San Diego, Dr. Seuss Enterprises said in a statement on the anniversary of the deceased writer.
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The announcement comes exactly a year after the company founded by the family of Dr Seuss – whose real name was Theodor Seuss Geisel – announced that it would stop publishing six Dr Seuss titles because they contain racist and insensitive imagery. , a decision that drew both condemnation and praise.
In “And to Think I Saw It on Mulberry Street”, an Asian person is depicted wearing a conical hat, holding chopsticks, and eating from a bowl. “If I Ran the Zoo” includes a drawing of two barefoot African men wearing what appear to be grass skirts with their hair tied above their heads. Other affected books were “McElligot’s Pool”, “On Beyond Zebra!”, “Scrambled Eggs Super!” and “The Cat’s Quizzer”.
New authors and illustrators will represent a diverse cross-section of racial backgrounds to represent as many families as possible, Dr. Seuss Enterprises said. Company officials were not available for comment, a spokesperson said.
“We look forward to spotlighting a new generation of talent who we know will bring their unique voice and style to the page, while drawing inspiration from the creativity and imagination of Dr. Seuss,” Susan Brandt , president and CEO of Dr. Seuss Enterprises, said in a statement.
The books, under the Seuss Studios banner and published by Random House Children’s Books, will be aimed at readers ages 4 to 8.
“The original Dr. Seuss sketch that serves as the inspiration for each of Seuss Studios’ new books will be included in the book, along with a note from the creators explaining how they were inspired and their process,” the San director said. Diego. the company said.
The images include a cat-like creature with huge ears and a series of colorful, pointy-nosed hummingbirds.
The aim is to continue Geisel’s legacy, begun in 1957 with the launch of the Beginner Books imprint at Random House, to inspire young readers and support writers and artists beginning their careers in publishing. , the company said.
The company appears sincere in its efforts to address inclusivity, said Pamela Good, president of Beyond Basics, a Michigan-based nonprofit that promotes literacy.
“We believe literacy is for everyone,” she said. “And as you try to come up with really thoughtful and heartfelt solutions, they really embrace everyone and allow everyone to be celebrated. And I think what they’re doing right now is a step in the right direction.
Dr. Seuss Enterprises has yet to reveal the writers and illustrators who will work on the new books as contracts are still being ironed out.
The first of the new books is due out next year, and the goal is to publish at least two new books a year.
Dr. Seuss’ books such as “Green Eggs and Ham” and “The Cat in the Hat” remain popular more than 30 years after Geisel’s death in 1991.
He earned an estimated $35 million in 2021, making him the fifth highest-paid dead celebrity of the year, according to Forbes. Roald Dahl is No. 1, followed by Prince, Michael Jackson and Charles Schulz.
Geisel, who was born and raised in Springfield, Massachusetts, was No. 2 on the list in 2020 with $33 million in earnings. His books have been translated into dozens of languages, as well as Braille, and are sold in over 100 countries.
AP video reporter Luke Sheridan in New York contributed to this story.