Was the Cat in the Hat Black?: The Hidden Racism of Children's Literature, and the Need for Diverse Books by Philip Nel

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Read Was the Cat in the Hat Black?: The Hidden Racism of Children's Literature, and the Need for Diverse Books Online Free - Racism is resilient, duplicitous, and endlessly adaptable, so it is no surprise that America is again in a period of civil rights activism. A significant reason racism endures is because it is structural: it's embedded in culture and in institutions. One of the places that racism hides-and thus perhaps the best place to oppose it-is books for young people.

Was the Cat in the Hat Black? presents five serious critiques of the history and current state of children's literature tempestuous relationship with both implicit and explicit forms of racism. The book fearlessly examines topics both vivid-such as The Cat in the Hat's roots in blackface minstrelsy-and more opaque, like how the children's book industry can perpetuate structural racism via whitewashed covers even while making efforts to increase diversity. Rooted in research yet written with a lively, crackling touch, Nel delves into years of literary criticism and recent sociological data in order to show a better way forward. Though much of what is proposed here could be endlessly argued, the knowledge that what we learn in childhood imparts both subtle and explicit lessons about whose lives matter is not debatable. The text concludes with a short and stark proposal of actions everyone-reader, author, publisher, scholar, citizen- can take to fight the biases and prejudices that infect children's literature. While Was the Cat in the Hat Black? does not assume it has all the answers to such a deeply systemic problem, its audacity should stimulate discussion and activism.

Title : Was the Cat in the Hat Black?: The Hidden Racism of Children's Literature, and the Need for Diverse Books
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 019063507X
Edition Language : English
Format Type : Hardcover
Number of Pages : 288 pages


Andre rated it ★★★★☆

July 31, 2017

The book has a definitive academic feel, but is still quite accessible. Professor Nel may ruffle a lot of feathers with this one, good thing he seems to be clear about this. He remarks in chapter 3, “As an educator, I frequently wonder: how do I speak directly, name racism when I see it, and yet...

Ceillie rated it ★★★★★

August 24, 2017

Full review to come, but this book is really really important. Read my full review HERE

Cat rated it ★★★★★

August 04, 2017

An eloquent and powerful book. Nel begins with a historical and literary perspective on the privileging of whiteness in children's literature and moves into an examination of the contemporary children's book industry and the way that decisions about publicity, staffing, and genre forward the impl...

Kristine rated it ★★★★★

July 31, 2017

Was the Cat in the Hat Black? by Philip Nel is a free NetGalley ebook that I read in late July. Oh, once I knew that I was okayed to review this, I was super excited to delve into this one. Even if I'd learned in an American Race Relations class this winter that race is a social structure, this bo...

Ginny rated it ★★★★★

November 29, 2017

This amazing nonfiction book explores ways in which "classic" and modern books for kids reinforce racist tropes, harming kids of all races. Heavily researched and annotated, the book offers a deep exploration as well as suggestions for reading intelligently with kids (as opposed to whitewashing o...

Katelyn rated it ★★★★★

December 31, 2017

White librarians should read this.

Lisa rated it ★★★★★

November 11, 2017

I won a copy of Was the Cat in the Hat Black?: The Hidden Racism of Children's Literature, and the Need for Diverse Books by Philip Nel from Goodreads. An important must-read for anyone who cares about children, Philip Nel's book, Was the Cat in the Hat Black?: The Hidden Racism of Children's Lite...

Kristy rated it ★★★★☆

January 16, 2018

This is a good and necessary book, and it raises some very important points about the publishing industry and children's literature. One very minor quibble: I just felt like at times it was very quote heavy? Like instead of Nel having his own thoughts and points he was just compiling the thoughts...

Jackie rated it ★★★★★

August 30, 2017

I remember reading Nancy Larricks article in the Saturday review over 50 yrs ago I think and her message is still falling on deaf ears. This book states it all again and more so. In the concluding chapter the author presents a useful manifesto for Anti-racist children's Literature. Number 6 is to...

Amy rated it ★★★★☆

August 20, 2017

A thoughtful deep-dive into how passive racism is present in books for children. Every parent, writer, editor, agent, teacher and librarian could benefit from reading this book. As well as anyone who once was a child ...

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