Melania Trump Fires Back at School Librarian Who Rejected Her Gift of Dr. Seuss Books

'To turn the gesture of sending young students some books into something divisive is unfortunate'

First Lady Melania Trump / Getty

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Melania Trump responded Friday to a Massachusetts elementary school librarian who rejected a collection of 10 Dr. Seuss books that the first lady sent to her school as a gift.

Stephanie Grisham, director of communications for the first lady's office, said in a statement to Fox News that the Cambridge Elementary School librarian's response was "unfortunate," and that Trump wanted to use her position "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," Grisham said. "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."

The librarian, Liz Phipps Soeiro, wrote in a blog post on Tuesday that she would not be keeping the books that Trump donated to her school.

Trump had given a collection of 10 Dr. Seuss books to one school in each state earlier this month to mark National Read a Book Day.

In an open letter to Trump, Soeiro wrote that she does not need the books because her school district "has plenty of resources" and a "school library with over nine thousand volumes and a librarian with a graduate degree in library science." Soeiro added that Trump should be donating books to school libraries in cities like Detroit, Philadelphia, and Chicago, because their communities are being "marginalized and maligned by policies put in place by Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos."

Soeiro also criticized Trump's choice of Dr. Seuss as "cliché," describing him as a "tired and worn ambassador for children's literature." She argued that Dr. Seuss's illustrations are steeped in "racist propaganda, caricatures, and harmful stereotypes."

The librarian did not mention in her letter that at an event for Cambridge public schools in 2015, she dressed up as The Cat in the Hat to celebrate Dr. Seuss's birthday by reading Green Eggs and Ham to local children.

Former first ladies Michelle Obama, Hillary Clinton, and Barbara Bush have all read Dr. Seuss books at education events. Obama, for example, hosted a Dr. Seuss-themed event for children in the White House East Room in 2015, in addition to several other venues where she read Dr. Seuss books.

Former President Barack Obama said last March while promoting his "Read Across America" initiative that "pretty much all the stuff you need to know is in Dr. Seuss."

Charles Russell

Charles Russell   Email Charles | Full Bio | RSS
Charles Russell is a Media Analyst for the Washington Free Beacon. Before joining the Beacon he worked at America Rising and has spent several years on multiple campaigns. Charles can be reached at russell@freebeacon.com, his twitter handle is @charleswrussell.

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