Subscribe to The Horn Book

I’m not kidding.

So the May/June special issue of the Horn Book has only been out for two days and we’ve already had two people (that I know of) cancel their subscriptions because of the lack of respect shown in that issue to our president and, by extension, those who voted him in.

Of course I’m sorry to lose any subscribers, but I have to admit to an honest perplexity in addressing those who claim to have been faithful readers of the Horn Book for the past twenty years and only now are cottoning onto the fact that we’re not exactly a bastion of conservatism. But I am equally perplexed by anyone who thinks having Trump in the White House is good for children or books, and I welcome any responses in the comments willing to make that case. I am not saying this to set you up; I would really like to know.

Roger Sutton About Roger Sutton

Roger Sutton has been the editor in chief of The Horn Book, Inc, since 1996. He was previously editor of The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books and a children's and young adult librarian. He received his M.A. in library science from the University of Chicago in 1982 and a B.A. from Pitzer College in 1978. Follow him on Twitter: @RogerReads.

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  1. I don’t know the particular thoughts of those who cancelled, but to me, it’s not about Hornbook being “a bastion of conservatism”. The problem is that there are people of varying political views, and as much as we might hate it, there are people in this country who don’t think Trump is a problem, who also are using Hornbook for skill development, professional use and continuing education. And while the creators of Hornbook see Trump as a problem, not everyone in the country thinks he is. The problem is not bashing Trump per say, as is the impression that we should only support our students and colleagues whom are Democrats. Or that we should force political beliefs on students, which is not our job. We should also support our library media colleagues in their occupation, which is incredibly stressful because it is usually the first budget cut in schools, regardless of their personal political views, if we want this profession to survive. And we are supposed to teach students to use their own critical thinking skills. Why else would we teach the concept of opposing viewpoints? Some of the country likes Trump, so it would be nice to have a balanced professional journal that also provides resources and/or information about what the Trump supporters think from their point of view that is intellectually honest and not alarmist, so that we can provide students with the ability to think for themselves. When I read professional resources like Hornbook etc., I know their editorial background, so I don’t expect a balanced view, yet I read it anyway. As educators, we know when viewing information that we should discern the bias and take the good you can from the resource with that bias in mind. Tools like Hornbook make it easy to present Democrat ideas, and it is a lot of work finding the opposing views, since there really is no widely accredited professionally appreciated resource from the Republican side. Perhaps it is the error of the subscribers, expecting a completely balanced view. And some people don’t want to see current politics in their professional development materials at all. I can’t justify Trump, because I didn’t want him, but I also can’t justify the lack of presenting a balanced view. We are not supposed to indoctrinate, but foster critical thinking towards ideas – even those different from what we think. In fact, that might be more important because it strengthens our own personal views, or changes them through honest contemplation, and allows us to learn where those different from us are coming from. We should be teaching empathy towards all our students. Not just those who support our personal viewpoints.

  2. Jen Mason Stott says:

    I’ll just have to order a second subscription for our school “literacy coach” to make up for one of the departures. And maybe a favorite library volunteer. There. Crisis averted!

  3. June Schwarz says:

    I shall be subscribing – ive been meaning to for ages & this is the kick I needed to do it.

  4. Those people are offended by that cartoon–but not by the vile, racist, and bigoted things DJT said over the course of the presidential campaign…by the sexist and disgusting things he has said about women…by his persistent claims that Barack Obama was not born in the USA…by the fact that the man is a pathological liar and unscrupulous businessman? Has DJT earned our respect?

  5. I’m not offended by mocking DJT because we live in a free society. But I did sigh sadly when I saw the particular cartoon highlighted here that makes fun of him for having small hands. As a general trend it’s been annoying me. Of all the many, many, many things that one could mock Trump for (and the options are legion), why all the focus on small hands, a physical attribute over which he has no control? Any mocking of physical attributes always makes me uncomfortable.

  6. Elaine Magliaro says:

    I’m am wondering what “a balanced view of Trump” would look like. I think he is a destructive force in this country. I believe we should tell the truth about people like him who serve in positions of power. I haven’t found anything positive that I can say about the man yet.

  7. Midwest Librarian says:

    The irony of Trump is that he is not a set-in-stone ideologue. He has been very flexible in his views shifting from Democrat to Independent to Republican. In many ways, he is a populist Democrat who ran as a Republican. This is why he won over the usually blue Midwest. He appealed to a segment of the electorate that is usually Democrat and voted for Obama twice. This is why I find the arguments that Trump voters are deplorable, racist, and bigoted to be a bit off. After all, you would have to essentially say that Obama turned these traditionally Democratic voters into deplorable, racist bigots and that seems like a stretch since I don’t believe Obama did such a thing.

    Living in the Midwest, I can say with a lot of confidence (at least in my Midwest bubble) that most people who voted for Trump did so knowing he was:

    1) Not a pillar of virtue. There is no excuse for many of the things he said or did before or during the election process. However, some of them couldn’t stomach the idea of having Bill Clinton back in the White House and in fact cited Bill Clinton’s escapades as the reason they could overlook Trump’s sordid past.
    2) Not a reliable Republican. The fact that Trump is so malleable on so many issues over his years in the public eyes was a very concerning issue for many of his Republican voters (who held their noses and voted for him anyway). However, this mixture of Republican and Democratic (Labor-focused populism) ideas is what won him the Midwest. In my eyes, Trump won the presidency not as a Republican, but as a Populist, which crosses both Republican and Democratic lines.

    As A said, I believe it’s also important to have empathy for those on the other side of the aisle from us whether we are Democrats, Republicans, Libertarians, or Socialists. We all live in the same country and need each other’s points of view to clash in order to have a healthy democracy. So it would be nice to have different sides of the the aisle represented in library scholarship from time to time.

    As Alys said, I found the cartoon mocking Trumps small hands to be a bit too low for my tastes. I like political cartoons, but that one seemed to be less of a social commentary and more of a dig at his physical characteristics.

    As for why we should show respect to Trump, I think there are many reasons, a sense of civility in politics, recognition of his achievements/successes (even if we don’t like them), a seemingly healthy family life, etc. (I personally believe his family helped him get elected because I heard people say he must be doing something right because of how well his kids turned out).

    One thing I learned over many years is that you don’t have to like someone to be respectful toward them. Also, if you want to change people’s minds you can’t do so if you don’t show them respect in the first place and one thing we know about Trump is he is open to changing his mind (for good and ill).

    Best Wishes,
    Midwest Librarian

  8. Most Democrats did not vote for Trump. Most Republicans did. Trump still has a high approval rating among Republicans.

    Trump has shown disrespect toward many of the people who live in this country–minorities, women, federal court judges–even a war hero who was tortured for years as a POW. Trump does not deserve my respect. Let him lead by example–by showing respect for ALL of the people who live in this country. Then maybe he’ll earn my respect.

  9. Roger Sutton Roger Sutton says:

    I thank A and Midwest Librarian for their thoughtful comments about Trump’s appeal. I agree that the Horn Book, like a library, should be a respecter of differences–even when those being offered respect do not offer the same courtesy. That does not mean we don’t have a point of view–if you believe, for example, that books containing information about evolution should be inherently condemned as immoral and unsuitable, the Horn Book is probably not the place for you. And we won’t praise books about intelligent design just to demonstrate “balance,” either.

    The “tiny hands” thing hasn’t gone viral because Trump has tiny hands. His hands are FINE. What keeps the joke going is that it triggers him. Those of you saying we shouldn’t pick on his disability would enrage him most of all!

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