Scholastic Was Right To Ask A Children’s Book Author To Edit Her Anti-American Introduction, But Nobody Will Admit It

Maggie Tokuda-Hall was indignant when Scholastic, a publishing giant that distributes books and resources to 90% of the nation’s schools, offered, to license her book, “Love in the Library,” but only on the condition that she edit her author’s note as indicated above. She went public with her accusations that this was an example of unconscionable capitulation to right-wing efforts to “censor” books in school libraries, and now Scholastic is groveling for forgiveness after ” an outcry among children’s book authors,” while several authors and educators consulted by Scholastic condemned the company’s actions, and demanded an overhaul of the editorial process.

Of course, this is an issue being engaged with by only one side of the political divide, whose analysis is wildly skewed by fealty to political correctness and the anti-American movement in public education, fueled in part by children’s book authors (see above) and industry consultants (see above). The New York Times’ “news report” on the matter is, predictably, completely biased, framing what should be an issue stuffed with legitimate arguments on both sides to one where the rights and wrongs of the episode have already been settled by the demands of Leftist orthodoxy. The headline, as is often the case in the Times, frames the story dishonestly: “Asked to Delete References to Racism From Her Book, an Author Refused.”

The author, a Japanese-America, quickly plays her own race-card, telling the Times, “We all see what’s happening with this rising culture of book bans. If we all know that the largest children’s publisher in the country, the one with the most access to schools, is capitulating behind closed doors and asking authors to change their works to accommodate those kinds of demands, there’s no way you as a marginalized author can find an audience.”

Sure there is. Write children’s books that don’t seek to indoctrinate kids and that don’t try to reduce complex historical events to simplistic and misleading narratives.

The book tells how her grandparents met and fell in love at an Idaho internment camp that confined Japanese-Americans during World War II. It is called “Love in the Library,” and is meant to be read by 6- to 9-year-olds.

Let me repeat that: the book with the proposed introduction you see above is meant to be read by 6- to 9-year-olds. Tokuda-Hall’s characterization of both the interning of Japanese-Americans during World War II isn’t fact; it is very much a personal, biased and controversial opinion that children in the first to fourth grades have neither the perspective nor the historical understanding nor the maturity to process. Heck, at least half the adult public has a minimal understanding of the Japanese internment.

The introduction is a political screed, and factually false. Saying that what the United States did in response to the first armed attack it had experienced since the War of 1812 in any way reflects “America here and now” is simply deliberate misrepresentation. The U.S. didn’t throw Muslim-Americans into internment camps after the attacks of 9-11, and the internment policy of World War II has been extensively analyzed and criticized in the intervening decades. Attributing the panicked and misguided policy to racism alone is indefensibly reductionist, though racism certainly played a role. (So did the fact that Harvard-educated Japanese working for their Emperor helped plan the sneak attack on Pearl Harbor that killed 3000 Americans). The book also manages to avoid noting that the United States also detained at least 11,000 ethnic Germans during the war, though relatively few ended up in internment camps.

The “children in cages” smear is misleading political distortion, and to the extent that it is true, the practice certainly did not arise from “hate.” Then the introduction slides into talking points from Black Lives Matter and the “1619 Project,” all propaganda that avoids the majority of the complex history involved in order to slur the United States as a perpetual purveyor of racism and hate. Her introduction is itself racist and hateful to the core.

In some of the higher grades, skilled and non-ideological teachers might be able to use “Love in the Library” to explore the divisions in American politics and academia, the layered conflicts of American history, and how concentrating on the negative perspectives of the victims alone distorts rather than aids civic literacy.

Unfortunately, parents cannot trust today’s teacher to be skilled and objective.

“Love in the Library,” with the original introduction and aimed at children as young as 6, does not belong in any school library. Its purpose is indoctrination, not education.

12 thoughts on “Scholastic Was Right To Ask A Children’s Book Author To Edit Her Anti-American Introduction, But Nobody Will Admit It

  1. Independent of the politics, I’m looking at the vocabulary of that intro. I wonder what percentage of 6-9year-olds could define half of these words: improbable, virulent, minimize, trauma. situate, supremacy, contempt, suppression, apartheid, sovereign. Whatever else she is or isn’t, Ms. Tokuda-Hall is not a children’s book author.

  2. Uff Da! (For my Midwest friends.)

    Oy Vey! (For my East Coast Friends. (Is that racist/antisemitic?))

    Where to begin?

    Those who would call this book-banning would probably also say Ben Shapiro is not entitled to a forum at any particular college. Analogously, you don’t have a right to be published by Scholastic.

    It is my desire to counter every reference to The 1619 Project with a reference to the 1630 Project. W. E. B. DuBois went into great detail about every law that went into effect to suppress the African Slave Trade (that was almost the name of his work). It started with an import tax on slaves to one of the colonies (Remember: the power to tax is the power to destroy.). I never finished reading that; as a compilation of laws, it was pretty dull, but I tried.

    And, whenever people bring up the Trail of Tears, I am inclined to ask them why the Trail of Tears is indicative of inherent racism in America, but the DECISION OF THE UNITED STATES SUPREME COURT that the Indian Removal Act was UNCONSTITUTIONAL is not a demonstration that the United States was not genocidal.

    (Footnote: Jackson’s defiance of the Supreme Court is the first, but hardly the last instance of the Democratic Party’s contempt for the Third branch (FDR’s court-packing aspirations, Bork, Clarence Thomas’s confirmation, Obama’s admonition of the Supreme Court during the SOTU, Kavanaugh confirmation proceedings, Schumer’s open threat to certain justices, recent court-packing threats, and complaints against Thomas for his trips with people (right or wrong, it is part of a trend by the left).

    Stepping back to a 10,000 feet perspective, so many of the issues we face (and I notice in your posts) can be attributed to:

    1) lack of any sense of nuance;

    2) failure to distinguish between form and substance; and

    3) failure to distinguish between epistemology and ontology.


  3. Given the title, I assumed it was a book about drag shows in the children’s section of the local library.

  4. Scholastic’s grovel (press release from 4/17/23) is almost comically woke; I halfway expected them to admit they were “literally killing her” with their words. Childrens’ books from Scholastic were an important part of my youth, and it is sad to see them capitulate so readily to the woke mob.

  5. What is both frightening and depressing is the almost certain likelihood there are many more such books that manage to slip through unnoticed.

  6. In her poignant story of her ancestors’ “love” found in the “library” of the internment camps does she mention that it was the Democratic President that led the charge to inter her grandparents? Does she recount the “tragedies” she has since been forced to endure?
    I recently read an advertisement regarding conversations about racism in nursing. It made the patent remark that “white nurses” were not allowed to speak. I assume that male nurses were also not allowed to speak.
    As a white male nurse, I would have told the story of my professors, two of whom were black. the three black nurse supervisors I worked under in my first job, at Flushing Hospital, and the Black Woman, full Colonel, Chief Nurse at Walton Army Hospital, Fort Dix, NJ circ 1965-1975.
    I say all this to state, Racism is seen everywhere where racists want to see it, disregarding reality.

    • I’m sure that if pressed on the matter, it would fall under the cover of “you do know the parties flipped, right? The southern strategy?” Everything bad the Democrats did in the past is now magically the Republican’s fault, and everything good that either party did is to the glory of the democrats. The Democratic Party’s web page STILL states that they are responsible for giving women the right to vote, and for all of civil rights passage.

  7. The fact that Japanese-Americans on Hawaii readily followed a downed Japanese pilot in an insurrection also scared the Washington authorities to death. They had no way of knowing if this was universal among Japanese immigrants and if the emperor could issue a command to all Japanese-Americans to sabotage the US war effort, it would have been disastrous. Overblown fear fed by racism? Perhaps, but the stakes were high and Roosevelt wasn’t exactly a civil libertarian. Remember, Italian-Americans were interned as well.

    • The internment needs to be placed on the scales more prominently when FDR is being deified, but the analysis we usually see today is classic hindsight bias. The US was dealing with an unprecedented and frightening event, and it is literally impossible today to understand how great the fear of a “fifth column” in the US was. The most memorable (if bad) movie about the fear of a mainland invasion by the Japanese is a comedy, “1941,” but it wasn’t considered funny at the time. Even famed civil libertarian William O. Douglas voted with the SCOTUS majority to keep the Japanese Americans interned.

      I can’t blame the author of the “children’s book”—or any descendants of the abuses US citizens— for being bitter and angry, but their’s is a hardly an objective perspective.

    • Yep, we Italians were – the threat actually spurred my paternal grandfather, who was an immigrant from Italy, into taking citizenship before WWII when he could see what was coming, so he would not be a target. I still have the paper American flag he was given on the occasion. Most restrictions against us were lifted on Columbus Day 1942, because we had, according to FDR, “passed the test.” That wouldn’t have had anything to do with you needing the Italian-American vote, Franky? Nah, couldn’t be. Of course the South continued to treat us like crap, a friend of mine who was subjected to a bs traffic stop in GA in the 90s was asked if he was “eye-tal-i-an,” and upon pushing back a bit, was threatened and told “your kind just one step above niggers here.” Nice.

  8. Some Native Americans had black slaves on the Trail of Tears. That seems to be forgotten. Food deserts were created in Minneapolis after the George Floyd riots. That also seems to go unnoticed. And people of color were especially targeted for Covid shots that appear to have mostly caused more harm than good. Yet this also isn’t discussed.

    Hate is indeed a virus. One that seems bent on destroying truth and accountability.

    Besides isn’t her intro technically “fear speech?”

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.