Children’s Book Sparks Racial Controversy

When books are banned or protested, it gives us an opportunity to look more closely at the book being called out and, in certain cases, to zoom in for closer examination which is often followed by more sales. This is one of those times.

The book in question is Justice Makes a Difference by Dr. Artika Tyner and Jacklyn Milton and illustrated by Jeremy Norton and Janos Orban. From PR material from the book:

Through conversations with her grandma and their shared love of books, Justice learns about important women and men throughout history who changed the world: Ella Baker, Shirley Chisholm, Charles Hamilton Houston, Dr. Wangari Maathai, Paul Robeson, and Ida B. Wells. Justice learns how each leader was a champion for advancing justice and improving the world, and she dreams of becoming a change maker, too—“Miss Freedom Fighter, Esquire,” a superhero with a law degree and an afro!

Written by Dr. Artika Tyner and Jacklyn Milton, passionate educators and community advocates, Justice Makes a Difference is the inspiring story of one little girl’s realization that her name is her destiny.

But according to NBC affiliate KDSK, the protest of a school board member is causing outrage in O’Fallon, Illinois:

That’s why hundreds of people planned to rally at the school board meeting Tuesday evening against Steve Springer who made many remarks at a city council meeting against the book “Justice Makes a Difference.”

Springer said reading to children as young as five in the library was inappropriate, and “the library should cater to the entire community, not just some factions within it.”

The book is about a young black girl who makes a difference in her community and teaches others to do the same, while learning about women’s rights and civil rights.

Other board members like Jason Boone were outraged by his comments and said the book is a good lesson for all children so they too can make a difference in their community.

The full article is here.

News Reporter
Linda L. Richards is the editor of January Magazine and the author of several books.

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