Home NEWS Washington Post: “Breaking Up with Your Favorite Racist Childhood Classic Books”

Washington Post: “Breaking Up with Your Favorite Racist Childhood Classic Books”

Philip Nel

Philip Nel is the author of “Was the Cat in the Hat Black?: The Hidden Racism of Children’s Literature and the Need for Diverse Books,” a 2017 book that helped launch a conversation about racism in children’s books that led to a recent decision by Dr. Seuss Enterprises to stop publishing six of the prolific author’s books.

Nel, who is a professor of English at Kansas State University and director of the children’s literature program there, spoke with me about the book a few years ago. I republished the conversation here earlier this year when it was falsely reported that a Virginia school district had banned the books of Dr. Seuss, the pen name of Theodor Seuss Geisel.

Nel is back with this post, in which he discusses racism in children’s books and the way the issue has become politicized. At the heart of his piece is this: … continued


Philip Nel teaches, reads, writes, and blogs.  Despite the fact that formal education held little interest prior to college, he somehow managed to become a Professor of English.

“Since I teach in a university system with an ambiguous relationship to academic freedom, I think it legally prudent to avoid naming my employer here. Though, of course, you can easily discover my affiliation in a click or two.”

Nel has written and edited several books. He has appeared on National Public Radio and CBS Sunday Morning, and has given lectures around the world.

“Surprised? Believe me, I’m far more surprised than you are. And yet, implausible though this all seems, it’s also true.”

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