I can not let another minute go by before I comment my sincere feelings and thoughts about the ‘pull off the shelves’ of Scholastic’s new book A BIRTHDAY CAKE FOR GEORGE WASHINGTON by Ramin Galleshiam and Vanessa Newton and edited by Andrea Davis Pinkney, ex. ed.
My feeling is HORRIFIED!!!! WHAT IS HAPPENING????
I have not had the opportunity to READ this book, and I guess won’t, but from the descriptions in various articles, it is the story of a family’s pride and joy in doing a job well, being admired for it and their talents….IN spite of, not because of, their ‘situation’ at the historic time as slaves in the kitchen of our new nation’s then president, George Washington. My thoughts: Where is the ‘damning harm’ in that? Isn’t that what ‘we’ want to be showing these days to kids of EVERY color? – Kids and families of color (and can that include white children thank you!?) doing everyday things in which they take joy, work out problems, come together as a family, and find pride and solutions together? Telling kids about life AS IT IS positively….perhaps even in the historical setting of another time! How is that a “false impression?” Do we actually believe that every minute of everyday was miserable and sad and negative to even the slaves? As deplorable as slavery was, and is to people whose families experienced it, DID find joy and happiness at times….perhaps much of the time in some cases. Hercules certainly was rightfully prideful of his talents and sharing them with his daughter Delia, and then with a man of such standing of the time, who was very fond of Hercules.
I understand there was back page information about these slave times and suggestions for talking about it with readers too. But I can’t swear to that as I can’t SEE or READ the book. What a shame. And what a shame that Scholastic, as rightfully prideful company, can’t find a way to support their Ex. Ed. and writer and illustrator in this horrifying over reaction! Isn’t conversation what will educate children and adults and move us beyond this sort of narrow mindness? But no conversation if the book isn’t on the shelves to read!