Friday, December 02, 2016


Earlier today (December 2, 2016) I saw a post on Twitter that linked to a Book Riot review of Bad Little Children's Books: Kidlit Parodies, Shameless Spoofs, and Offensively Tweaked Covers by Arthur Gackley. It isn't for kids. Published in September of 2016 for the adult market, people in children's lit are talking about it. The Book Riot review, by Kelly Jensen, is titled It's Not Funny. It's Racist.

Amongst its many racist pages is this one (credit for the image is to Kelly Jensen):

In short, this "parody" is a play on genocidal acts. Native people were given blankets infected with small pox. Tim Tingle's outstanding work of historical fiction, How I Became A Ghost, has that fact in it. Abrams lists "Arthur C. Gackley" as the author of Bad Little Children's Books. I don't know if that is a real person or not. That doesn't matter, though. The point of this particular page is to suggest revenge, with a Native family giving a white kid smallpox, and smiling as they look upon him. That alone is disgusting. Genocidal acts are not the stuff of humor.

Did the people who put this together think that the Indian family they put on the cover is Navajo? Did they use "Navajo" because they've heard about Navajo blankets? Do they realize they've used a stereotypical image to represent the Navajo family? Because this is, ultimately, a book of parody, do any of my questions even matter?!

In short: yes.

In some discussions of the book, I'm seeing that people realize the smallpox part is disgusting, and maybe they think that's enough. But, I think it is also important to note that Abrams is using stereotypical imagery and calling it Navajo.

This book, Abrams, is a despicable failure.

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