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>I’m guessing Greenwitch will be a whole ‘nother ball of wax.

>The upcoming opening of The Seeker, formerly known as The Dark is Rising, has a lot of people on edge, not least Susan Cooper. I’m reminded of another time this title got in trouble, branded as racist in 1976 by the Council on Interracial Books for Children in their Human and Anti-Human Values in Children’s Books: A Content Rating Instrument for Educators and Parents. And it was the title itself that got Cooper’s book in hot water with this crowd, who believed that the equation of darkness with evil was “racist by commission,” meaning overtly harmful. If I recall right, The Dark Is Rising was also labeled “racist by omission,” by the CIBC, because it didn’t have any black characters. I’ll have to remember to ask Susan what she thought about all this.

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.



  1. Yankeerat says:

    >I’ve just finished rereading The Dark is Rising in preperation for the film’s release and was struck by the lack of action, something I did not remember from reading it as a child. But one thing that did stick with me from earlier readinsg was the importance of the physical British land to the story and its connection to Will because he himself is “old”. It is difficult to imagine how this could work with an American protagonist, even if he is based in England, on the old land itself. In the book, Will takes part in customs–the scene where they go caroling sticks in my mind–that have fallen out of practice since the book’s publication, so I can see where some modernisation might be needed. But he is supposed to be different than his peers, and I don’t think turning him into “just your regular kid who saves the world” is keeping with the point of the book.

  2. >No movie can besmirch the perfection that is Cooper’s Dark is Rising. I have spoken.

  3. Roger Sutton says:

    >sez Jeanneb-who-must-be-obeyed!

    (and, now after the Lottery post, I feel compelled to point out that I KNOW that joke did not begin on the BBC but rather with H. Rider Haggard!)

  4. >The magnificent SHE! Now, why hasn’t anyone made a movie of that lately? I believe someone did a long ago — isn’t it time for a new one, what with feminism and all?

  5. >You know, I thought I was over my book/movie angst until I heard that NPR piece. Now I’m back to running around town howling “Is nothing sacred anymore?”

    Is there some sort of treatment for this condition? I plan to avoid moving pictures until I figure that out.

  6. >I understand that they’ve left the character of The Walker out of the movie altogether. It doesn’t sound like there’s a great deal of the original book left at all.

  7. Peter Parker says:

    >Actually, I was one of the readers who thought that there was more than a hint of racism in the Dark is Rising books. There is a recurring mention of the evil hordes coming from the east to besmirch the purity of Britain (I'm paraphrasing here). Need I mention that its actually the Brits who have been sending their hordes to take over the eastern world. And the bit about the bullying of the immigrant boy in the last book seemed to be completely forced, as if the author was trying to establish that she is not racist by making a token mention. She gave it a half-hearted try, but just when I thought that maybe this kid will be one of the important characters in the book, she just gave up.

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