Today (October 13, 2015), The Guardian ran an article on Meg Rosoff's "row" over her remarks on Edith Campbell's Facebook page. There, Rosoff wrote that there are thousands of books out there where kids can see themselves. In The Guardian, writer James Dawson said that he disagrees with Rosoff's remark that there are thousands of books, saying there are "numerous" books and that they're hard to find. Then, he said this:
Some of you are like Dawson, and think that buying books by diverse writers is enough. You think the mirrors in those books are enough.
But you forget, don't acknowledge, or maybe you don't even know, that the mirrors that Native kids get in classic, popular, and award-winning books aren't those nice shiny things you have in mind.
Far and away, what Native kids get are fun house mirrors like the ones we see at carnivals, fairs, and theme parks. The ones that take your image and distort it. That make it look funny. Or uber cool. Or scary. Or stupid.
We have to call out these distortions, and you should, too. Lift books that give kids accurate representations of Native people, but call out the ones that are not ok, too, so that your buds will know those books are not ok. So they won't be put onto those school reading lists.
I'm talking about Ghost Hawk. And Island of the Blue Dolphins. And Little House on the Prairie. And Brother Eagle Sister Sky. And The Education of Little Tree. And Walk On Earth A Stranger. And... I could go on and on and on.
Your silence affirms their existence. Your silence harms what Native kids get, and what non-Native ones "learn" from those distorted images.
Join me. Call out the bad. You're not being a "fan" of call out culture. You're being a person who cares about what kids get in books.
American Indians in Children's Literature