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First lady Melania Trump visits with children at a youth center at Andrews Air Force Base. Photo: Susan Walsh/AP

First Lady Melania Trump's office has responded to a Massachusetts elementary school librarian who rejected Dr. Seuss books the White House sent for National Read a Book Day," according to NBC Washington.

"Turning the gesture of sending young school children books into something divisive is unfortunate," press secretary Stephanie Grisham told NBC, "but the First Lady remains committed to her efforts on behalf of children everywhere."

Background:

  • Trump sent books to "one high-achieving school in every state," the Washington Post reported.
  • The librarian, Liz Phipps Soeiro, wrote a letter to Trump, explaining that her school did not have a need for the books because the school is in "a district that has plenty of resources."
  • She added that Dr. Seuss books have "illustrations...steeped in racist propaganda, caricatures, and harmful stereotypes."

Other points from Soeiro's letter:

  • Dr. Seuss "is a bit of a cliché, a tired and worn ambassador for children's literature."
  • Soeiro attached "a list of ten books...that I hope will offer you a window into the lives of the many children affected by the policies of your husband's administration."
  • "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?"

Go deeper

U.S. grants temporary protected status to thousands of Venezuelans

Venezuelan citizens participate in the vote for the popular consultation in December 2020, as part of a protest against Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro in Doral, Florida. Photo: Chandan Khanna/AFP

Venezuelans living in the United States will be eligible to receive temporary protected status for 18 months, the Department of Homeland Security announced Monday.

Why it matters: Tens of thousands of Venezuelans have fled to the U.S. amid economic, political and social turmoil back home. Former President Trump, on his last full day in office, granted some protections to Venezuelans through the U.S. Deferred Enforced Departure program, but advocates and lawmakers said the move didn't go far enough.

"She-cession" threatens economic recovery

Illustration: Sarah Grillo

Decades of the slow economic progress women made catching up to men evaporated in just one year.

Why it matters: As quickly as those gains were erased, it could take much, much longer for them to return — a warning Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen issued today.

The Week America Changed

Sandberg thought Zuckerberg was "nuts" on remote work in January 2020

Photo illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios. Photo: Paul Marotta/Getty Image

Chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg thought Mark Zuckerberg was "nuts" when he raised the possibility in January 2020 that 50,000 Facebook employees might have to work from home. By March 6, they were.

Why it matters: In an interview Monday with Axios Re:Cap, Sandberg explained how Facebook moved quickly to respond to the pandemic with grants for small businesses and work-from-home stipends for its employees, and how the company has been watching the unfolding crisis for women in the workforce.