Thanks, but no thanks. That’s what one school librarian told Melania Trump when she tried donating a stack of unsolicited books to her school.
Liz Phipps Soeiro is an elementary school librarian from Cambridge. She recently received a box of 10 Dr. Seuss books along with a letter from Melania Trump encouraging kids to follow their dreams.
Nice, right? Wrong.
Soeiro responded in an open letter to the first lady published by The Horn Book blog. In it, she says her school “doesn’t have a NEED for these books,” adding that they already have over 9,000 titles and, with a yearly per-pupil spending budget of well over $20,000, they can afford whatever they want.
“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?” she suggests.
But she doesn’t stop there. She also criticizes Melania’s choice of books.
“You may not be aware of this, but Dr. Seuss is a bit of a cliché,” Soeiro explains, “a tired and worn ambassador for children’s literature.”
She then encourages Mrs. Trump to reach out to her local librarian for better, more useful recommendations next time, then attaches a list of children’s books that might offer her “a window into the lives of the many children affected by the policies of your husband’s administration.”
“I am honored that you recognized my students and our school,” Soeiro concludes. “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.”
Of course, being a member of the Trump klan, Melania simply could not let the lowly school librarian get the last word. Her office issued a curt response today that reads:
Mrs. Trump intends to use her platform as First Lady 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 schools across the country is but one example. Turning the gesture of sending young school children books into something divisive is unfortunate, but the First Lady remains committed to her efforts on behalf of children everywhere.