"If you want your children to be intelligent, read them fairy tales. If you want them to be more intelligent, read them more fairy tales." Albert Einstein

20 July 2018

Was the Cat in the Hat Black?

Nel, Philip. Was the Cat in the Hat Black? The Hidden Racism of Children's Literature, and the Need for Diverse Books. Oxford University Press, 2017.

Considering the recent kerfuffle over the American Library Association's choice to rename the Laura Ingalls Wilder Award the Legacy Award, this book should be required reading for everyone who thinks they are entitled an opinion on diverse books, racism in the library world, etc.

This book is exceptionally academic and is not easy or fast reading. It does not have a conversational tone, does not propose solutions to the obvious problems in children's literature, and will not give new information to those who are already reading and studying this topic.

However, that does not remove the book's merit. It is an important book, and if the renaming of the Legacy Award was the first time you considered that children's books, even beloved classics, could be racist, this is a good jumping off point.

Recommended for: adults, particularly those who work with children and books

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