Debby Dahl Edwardson, author of Blessing’s Bead, has written a provocative post on the misrepresentation of Native Americans in children’s literature. Stop by her blog, Through the Tollbooth, and consider some of the important points she makes:
When my kids were little we had a Cat in the Hat video that featured the Cat, translating the phrase “Cat-in-the-Hat” into four languages. Three of the languages—French, Spanish and Russian—were accurate. The fourth, “Eskimo,” was jibberish, not to put too fine a point on it. Someone in a Wikepedia article described it as pseudo-Eskimo. That’s an interesting concept, don’t you think?
I imagine the producer saying, “what’s the odds of an Eskimo kid watching this?” Or, maybe, “there aren’t any real Eskimos left, you know.” Or, “Eskimos are a figment of your imagination, Ted.”
Did Theodore Giesel, the man who wrote stories of social commentary like The Sneeches and The Butter Battle, really approve of a video rendition of his work that served to pseudo-ize a people and their language?
Tomorrow’s the big day! My new publisher’s official press release goes out, and my muzzle comes OFF…stay tuned for news about the re-release of Wish, check out the “new” trailer in the upper right corner, and swing by Margaret’s Corroborative Detail blog on LiveJournal where Wish is #40 in her 50 Books by POC challenge…
Genna is a wonderful character — tough, smart, resourceful, and thoughtful — and the rest of the characters, while we don’t get to know them as thoroughly as Genna, are vivid as well. Also vivid are the settings: present-day and past Brooklyn, which are both beautifully evoked in their differences and in their similarities. The historical details are telling, but never bog down the narrative. Clearly there are comparisons to be made here with Octavia Butler’s excellent Kindred, and Elliott’s book stands up very well to the comparison; it made me think of Kindred (and think that they would be very good back-to-back reads) while never making me feel that it was at all imitating it.