Over the course of Colorful Book Reviews, I’ve reviewed almost 200 books, ranging from board books to academic works. I’ve also learned a LOT from you, the diverse book blogging community, reviewers, authors, publishers, readers, parents, teachers, and children.
Sometimes what I learn is that I got it wrong. Usually when that happens I go back to my review post and add in a note that it’s been edited and what my opinion is now and maybe why it’s changed.
Whether a different edition shows me something about the book to like (or dislike as the case may be) or another person points out a problematic aspect that I’d missed, it’s usually an easy fix to the blog’s content. However in this case my views on an entire subject have changed.
At one point I did not like books which used strong language for elementary school children. The more I’ve read and listened to people talk about this issue, the more my views have changed. The tipping point was reading this interview with Mildred Taylor.
I still have not worked out how to handle some words in a diverse classroom setting, but that is no longer such a concern as my career is taking a different path these days. At home, I’ve realized that softening the words and events of the past is part of the problem.
While we do soften or avoid some topics with young or particularly sensitive children, downplaying the Holocaust, lynchings, or apartheid stops us learning from those horrible events and working to prevent them. This can be done on a developmentally appropriate level, although it does take a bit more effort and education as a parent and teacher.
I will continue to mention instances of slurs or especially swears as I notice them in books, so that parents or teachers can make their own informed choices. However for historical fiction and nonfiction, that will no longer impact my overall opinion the same way.
Thanks for listening,