These two examples illustrate a new season of accountability for works for children - in particular in light of the #StopAsianHate campaign as our nation grapples with violence and prejudice against another vast, diverse, and maligned minority group, Asian Americans.
The New York Times reported on Scholastic Halts Distribution of Book by 'Captain Underpants" Author, where they wrote:
Scholastic said last week that it had halted distribution of the book, “The Adventures of Ook and Gluk: Kung-Fu Cavemen from the Future,” originally published in 2010. The decision was made with “the full support” of its author, Dav Pilkey, the company said, adding that it had removed the book from its website and had stopped fulfilling orders for it.
“Together, we recognize that this book perpetuates passive racism,” the publisher said in a statement. “We are deeply sorry for this serious mistake.”
And, widely reported in The Guardian and elsewhere, the six Dr. Seuss titles were pulled by Dr Seuss Enterprises, "the company that preserves and protects the author’s legacy... due to their racist and insensitive portrayal of people of color." Ironically, the controversy boosted sales of Dr. Seuss' other titles.
While the Dr. Seuss decision seemed to arise after feedback from a "panel of experts" who "concluded that the six titles portrayed people in ways that were ‘hurtful and wrong’”, the pulling of Dav's titles seemed driven by the author's interaction with one father of young readers who created a change.org petition to protest the book's "passive racism that has contributed to the continued hate and prejudice experienced by Asian Americans on a daily basis."
“I hope that you, my readers, will forgive me, and learn from my mistake that even unintentional and passive stereotypes and racism are harmful to everyone,” Dav wrote. “I apologize, and I pledge to do better.”
Illustrate, Translate, and Write On,