Open Very Carefully: even quality books can contain stereotypes

Open Very Carefully

One of the most popular books in my Pre-K class this past year was Open Very Carefully: A Book with Bite written by Nick Bromley and illustrated by Nicola O’Byrne. The book starts off like it will be a retelling of The Ugly Duckling, but soon a crocodile interloper enters the book. For the rest […]

>Jokers to the left of me, jokers to the right

>Leila pointed me to this case in Seattle of Brave New World being yanked from the curriculum for being insensitive re Native Americans. The Prez has already gotten in trouble (per usual) with Fox News for the inclusion in his new picture book of Sitting Bull (http://nation.foxnews.com/media/2010/11/15/obama-praises-indian-chief-who-killed-us-general); I’m wondering if that same spread is going […]

>Congrats to Siobhán!

>Via childlit, I have learned that Siobhán Parkinson has been named Ireland’s first laureate for children’s literature. Read her bristling article on the Famine in children’s books to clear the faery dew from yer head.

>Presto, change-o

>Collecting Children’s Books has had a couple of interesting posts about books such as They Were Strong and Good and The Rooster Crows, which have been bowdlerized to reflect changing standards of “appropriateness” in regard to depictions of nonwhite characters. Those are two among several if not many; Mary Poppins, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory […]

>Sitting at the grownups table

>Over at Nonfiction Matters, Marc Aronson cautions us to think about the larger context in which debates about social responsibility and the Newbery take place: “What I’d like is a set of comments on the Newbery that is not drawn from a survey of four winners, or the latest demographic chart, but a wider sense […]

>Listen to the children!

>Maybe Sherry Jones, whose The Jewel of Medina was cancelled by Ballantine for fear of Muslim terrorist rage, was just working with the wrong division of Random House. The copyright page of each fall 08 Random House ARC I’ve received states “Random House Children’s Books supports the First Amendment and celebrates the right to read.”

>White man speaks

>Debbie Reese revisits one of the more interesting events of my years here. In another recent entry she talks about author John Smelcer’s aspirations to Indian-ness. Our review of The Trap didn’t mention it, but the jacket flap does claim that the author is “of Ahtna Athabaskan descent,” which apparently he isn’t, although his adoptive […]

>A different movie

>Claire is going to be reviewing The Golden Compass for you all, so let me skip my opinions on that for the moment to recommend what we saw as the first half of our Saturday night double-feature: Enchanted. Pretty hilarious if insidious, too, wrapping a Disney-princess-power theme in so many layers of parody and sincerity […]

>The other g-word

>I’m just writing up a notice for Artist to Artist: 23 Major Illustrators Talk to Children about Their Art (Philomel), which isn’t really for kids but is an extremely handsome exhibition-in-pages of some great illustrators, including for each a gorgeously reproduced self-portrait as well as photos of their workspaces and preliminary studies and sketches. With […]

>It’s Her Party

>Anne Fine offers a personal take on the Tintin in the Congo controversy, citing examples from her own work where she has revised lines to better speak to contemporary sensibilities and her own raised consciousness. P.L. Travers, you will recall, did the same with Mary Poppins, replacing the racial representatives of the “Bad Tuesday” chapter […]