A book about President Trump — tailored to first- and second-graders — sparked outrage earlier this week among those who believe the book is inappropriate for children.
What’s so wrong with the book?
Scholastic published the book by Joanne Mattern in 2017.
On Wednesday, ThinkProgress published an article on the biographical book titled, “Scholastic’s pro-Trump propaganda for kids enrages teachers and parents.”
Casey Quinlan, the article’s author, cited a book review from Social Justice Books, which stated, “[“President Donald Trump”] is anything but neutral. The book outlines Trump’s personal and professional life with a celebratory tone. It omits facts, glosses over context, and ignores opposing perspectives.”
An excerpt from the book itself reads:
His buildings reached into the sky.
His businesses just grew and grew.
Then Trump became our president—
People wanted something new.
The Social Justice Books review, written by Kathleen Nganga and Sarah Cornelius, said the main problem with the book is with “extensive omissions that undermine a truthful, nuanced, and informative account” and “construct a false narrative.”
“Scrubbing away any trace of complexity or nuance from an account about an elected official stunts the quintessential democratic freedom and responsibility of questioning and critiquing those in positions of power,” they continued.
“We find this book to be dangerous from a democratic standpoint,” the authors added.
The two also lamented that “there is no reference to the substance of Trump’s campaign, to the nativist, racist rhetoric of ‘Make America Great Again.’”
“Perhaps words like Islamophobia, xenophobia, and misogyny are too complicated for first- and second-graders, but the concepts of exclusion and unfair treatment are certainly within reach,” Nganga and Cornelius added.
The review also blased the book for its apparent failure to explain to youngsters the ramifications of complex business decisions that Trump made during his pre-politics career.
Nganga and Cornelius wrote, “Our children deserve access to resources that equip them to develop democratic values, to think critically, and to examine their world in a truthful way.”
“We hope that future biographies lean away from simplified and celebratory narratives and instead embrace truth, nuance, and complexity,” Nganga and Cornelius concluded.
The review also prompted readers to contact Scholastic with their concerns over “misleading children,” noting that this book isn’t the first example to do such a thing to schoolchildren.
Citing several examples, Nganga and Cornelius wrote, “In 2017, readers asked why the Scholastic News stories about the devastation of Houston by Hurricane Harvey made no reference to climate change.”
“In 2011, [nonprofit organization] Rethinking Schools exposed a partnership between the American Coal Federation and Scholastic to distribute educational materials that described the benefits of coal without any reference to the dangers,” the review added.
Nganga and Cornelius implored readers to “write or call to demand accuracy in nonfiction books for children.”
(H/T: The College Fix)
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