Various artists to write and illustrate new books inspired by Dr. Suez Lifestyle

Dr. Seuss’ unpublished sketches will inspire a new series of children’s books to be written and illustrated by a diverse group of budding artists, the company that oversees the author’s estate said Wednesday.

A line of books will be released called Seuss Studios, a new project from Dr. Seuss Enterprises, which will publish at least two original books a year starting in 2023, a company spokeswoman said in a statement.

Although the list of authors and illustrators who will work on the books is still being finalized, the company said they will be from a variety of backgrounds and include people of color.

The announcement came a year after Dr. Seuss Enterprises said that six books written by Theodore Seuss Geisel under the pseudonym Dr. Seuss would no longer be published because of their use of images depicting people “insultingly and incorrectly. ».

For example, in the movie “And Think I Saw It on Mulberry Street,” a character who is described as “Chinese” has wrinkles for his eyes, wears a pointed hat and wears chopsticks and a bowl of rice. The two characters in “If I Were Riding a Zoo” from “African Island of Erk” and depicted are shirtless, shoeless and monkey-like.

Susan Brandt, President and CEO Dr. Seuss Enterprises said in a statement that the new venture “will help us ensure that Dr. Seuss’ images live in the best way – and in a new way – for future readers.”

The legacy of Dr. Seuss, who died in 1991 and entertained millions of children around the world with intricate stories, often related to moral lessons, has come under scrutiny in recent years. The decision to remove six titles from circulation has been the subject of stuffy coverage in cable news and has sparked complaints of a “culture of abolition” from prominent conservatives.

Others, however, welcomed the estate’s decision to stop selling some of Dr. Seuss’s work.

“I approve of the decision to do so and remove harmful items from the market,” Linda Klaassen, director of special collections at the University of California, San Diego, said Wednesday.

The university has a collection of Dr. Suze – hundreds of unpublished sketches, which are stored in the archives of the school library.

Behind closed doors and inside a room with its own security system, there are about 20 large steel drawers, each containing Dr. Seuss’s unpublished sketches, which are hidden in special folders and sleeves, Klaassen said.

There are about 750 such sketches. Klasen said she, Brand and her team often browsed the drawers in search of inspiration and ideas for projects. Some of the sketches will serve as a starting point for a new book idea for future artists to be involved in the project.

One of the never-before-seen illustrations, which was released on Wednesday, shows three colorful, smiling hummingbirds. The second is a mouse-like creature with indistinct elongated ears.

“A lot of them that you can say were book ideas because there were storyboards,” Klaassen said.

But Dr. Seuss was also an “avid draftsman,” she said, “so there’s a lot that I’d call different images that weren’t for books.”

When the new books are published, they will include an original sketch by Dr. Seuss and a note from the artists explaining how they were inspired by it.

Angeli Adukia, a professor at Harris University’s School of Public Policy who studied racial differences in children’s books, said Wednesday that she was “thrilled that they are creating stories, bringing in their own experiences and reflecting them in their work.”

Mallory Lehr, senior vice president and publisher of Random House Books for Young Readers, will oversee the editorial guide for the new books. In a statement, she said the voices of new authors and illustrators would “shine through every page, from cover to cover, with a glimpse of Dr. Suze’s imagination within each book.”

Philip Nell, a children’s literature scholar at the University of Kansas and author of the book “Dr. Seuss: American Icon, ”said Wednesday that he was“ pleased to see Dr. Seuss Enterprises take a step beyond last year’s product recall. ”

“I hope this first step is the first of many,” he said.

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