Submitter: This 50 year old beginning reader book is a woefully one-sided history lesson about Kentucky settlers vs. The Indians. While Pa is off to “lick the British” with the likes of George Washington, Ma is left behind with her rifle to defend her children and their cabin from Indian attack. The story features stereotypical Indian illustrations, and atrocious language such as “redskins” and the children fearing they’ll be “scalped.” This was one of the original items owned in our children’s collection, and it last circulated in 2017, I’m sad to say. When I noticed the faded cover and yellowed pages, then discovered the terribly racist historical fiction within this book, I weeded it quickly. For fun, note the old fashioned “wash your hands” sticker we used to put in the front cover of children’s books at our library. It’s the best and most relevant part of this book!
Holly: Public libraries are not the place for this kind of thing anymore! Pass it on to a museum or archive…or wherever you’re putting your Little House on the Prairie books.
Ah yes, because Little House on the Prairie is completely equal to this atrocity.
History was racist and xenophobic. Isn’t that a shocker?
I’m a big fan of your website. However, I don’t think libraries, especially public ones, should be censoring even objectionable materials. Why not compromise by keeping this book in a closed stack?
It really isn’t a censorship issue, its a space and budget issue. Most small to medium public libraries don’t really have a closed stack option. Each library is going to have a different service objective/clientele. Most public libraries are built for the general public and are usually not able to provide any archival preservation. When we say “weeding” or even getting rid of something, it means this material isn’t appropriate for this particular collection. It needs to be in a place where this type of material is collected. In this case, the book is not really appropriate for your average elementary student doing research for a school project. Archives and research libraries are the proper places for these types of specialty materials.This is why that libraries usually cooperate with each other through ILL (Inter Library Loan) so we can get the more esoteric or “objectionable” types of books. Our site is made up of mostly public library items, since Holly and I are in the thick of it.
When I looked up this title in WorldCat, it is still out there in plenty of libraries, but it is in large public libraries or University collections that can support some specialty collections. However, I also saw this in many small town libraries and I wondered what they are doing with this title still sitting in a regular circulating juvenile collection. Regardless, if you are in New York Public library or the small town library, librarians will absolutely do their best to help anyone get any title.
I guess they were too poor to give “Sister” her own name?
I’d say people need to wash their hands OF this book. There must have been enough copies of this printed that archives have all they need.
I hope other librarians see this and weed it if it’s still in their library.
Side note – I wish that “wash your hands” sticker was still in library books. Children’s AND adults.
this is really awful. It concerns me that it even existed in the first place within the 2nd half of 20th century.
Does it have Stereotype Evil British Redcoats too? Funny how the Native Americans fought on the Government side in the War of Independence, isn’t it? And of course the rebel settlers (including George Washington) were as British as the Government soldiers at that time, whatever Paul Revere might have shouted in the poem.
I believe that what he actually shouted was “The Regulars are out!” Meaning the government soldiers. As you point out, he would have thought of himself as British.
Oh gosh, this was one of the few books in my house when I was a kid. I remember the cover quite fondly, and I know I must have read the book many times, but I didn’t remember anything about the inside. In fact, I didn’t even remember that the Indians in the title referred to people and not a season. Now am wondering what might be sitting on my shelves at home!
I had to look up the author. Here are his antecedents (interesting!) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Monjo_Company
And Monjo was a National Book Award finalist
(Though these are not reasons that this particular title should be retained in the general collection.)
This thing is just….eeeeew.
The only funny thing is the black calf named Lucifer.
Like I said, the cow and even the calf get a name, but poor “Sister” just gets a description.
Let’s hope the last checkout was someone who remembered it fondly from their youth, and that they were saddened to see the text.
Probably a sort of nickname. There are plenty of books and short films from the mid-20th century featuring a family of Dad, Mom, Junior, and Sis, with no actual names anywhere in sight.
The 2017 checkout is what intrigues me! I wonder if someone just recognized Anita Lobel’s artwork?
You could fit two ‘Fly Guy Presents’ books in the shelf space this is taking up, I bet.
My understanding is that head dresses were not common in the woodland areas of the continent, but in the prairie/plains.
I’d weed on condition, and I wouldn’t rebuy it. However, I take issue with the concept that outdated attitudes about Native Americans make this unfit for public consumption. It’s a book for young children, and parents should be aware of what their young children are reading so they can talk about the attitudes in the books. My daughter and I are reading Beverly Cleary’s Henry Huggins series, but I don’t let Henry’s occasional “girls are stupid” attitude go without comment.
Also, I feel it’s very easy for us to sit around in our modern neighborhoods and pass judgment on frontier women who were alone in isolated cabins and had to be alert to every threat to themselves and their children. Abduction, rape, and murder of white settlers by Native Americans are not racist myths spun from whole cloth. It might be nice to believe that Native Americans were always peaceful towards white settlers, but as human beings, and not “noble savages,” they were as capable of violence as any other human beings.
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