I imagine that most of you recognize the illustration above. It appears in Danny and the Dinosaur, an I Can Read book published in 1958 (cover shown below).
Do you remember the illustration? Like many of you (adults), I read Danny and the Dinosaur as a child. I don't recall if I paused at that illustration. Likely, I passed it over then, but as a person who studies images of Indians in children's literature, I notice it now and view it critically.
Watch the video embedded below. At the 3:35 mark, Frank Ettawageshik of the Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians, talks about the placement of American Indians in museums, and what those placements teach children.
I invite you to consider removing it. Removing it?! Is that censorship? It might be, but, what if the book contains something that is inaccurate? Look at the illustration. The words say "He saw Indians." But he didn't! He saw a life-sized.... man.... wearing a headdress.... What tribe might that man belong to? Course, this IS an easy-reader, so we probably wouldn't expect Syd Hoff to be tribally specific (name the tribe). And even if it was tribally specific, it would still be in a natural history museum, which makes it problematic in a different way...
The book's publication date is 1958. As such, it predates the development of what we now call multicultural literature. Would the book be published today? It is, of course, reprinted again and again. You can get it in hardcover, paperback, or in audiobook format.
Hoff sent his manuscript for his first children's book to Ursula
You could just say "He saw Indians. He saw bears. He saw..."That is followed by:
On Page 9: "He saw horses and wagons. He saw mummies. He saw cavemen. And he saw...(OK? Roman chariot and Egyptian mummies look too hard for a child who has just learned to read and is excited about reading.)I find it fascinating to think about what Hoff may have written, and it would be terrific to see his original manuscript! What did
I hear something much like
Watch the video above, read Fryberg's article, and then, consider whether or not you'll leave Danny and the Dinosaur on your shelf.