The blog of children's book author and illustrator Don Tate II
Sounds like you had a great trip. How did the speech go? Um...I wasn't too fond of reading my stuff for other people, but I'm sure it will get better. I think what I learned was that everyone was there to learn and help the others improve their work. I suppose if I ever feel it's not a supportive and "safe" environment, I'll quit! I think it's an excellent idea if you want to push yourself to improve your work. The brainstorming on my piece was priceless.
I too agree that the author might as well have said Little Black Nigger because everything about the word 'Sambo' is negative. I've seen countless tellings, as in the Slave Narratives documentary, where slave owners were using the word Sambo with the same effect as Nigger.
yep I think using that name for the book these days is just upsetting to folks of color. Beautifully illustrated or not it feels like its disrespecting us.
Okay...I do feel a little out of place when posting a comment because I am white. Although, I do agree with everything you had to say about the book in your post.One of my classes last semester was "Black Studies." There was a section we did on the "Portrayal of African Americans." In this section we did take a look at this same book...only it was one of the very first original ones that my professor had in his own book collection from home. Some of the illustrations that you describe...make me really think of the book he brought in. LOL Only you really could smell the age of the book! :-P Anyway....The title of the book...to still keep that the same, is just derogitory and nothing but that. I like the idea of changing the name of the main character to just "Sam," but then again it still implies the title of "Sambo." So I'm not sure what would need to be done there....I love children's books, & I am studying to become a teacher. I would have to say though that I would never ever read a book like this in my classroom. I think it just brings up issues and language from the past that we have strived to diminish for some time. So don't worry. ;-) I'll be a great teacher! :-D Sorry, my comment is long. :-\~Lauren
@ Lauren: Not to worry. I welcome any comments on any subject and from any race. Notice that my links pallet is intentionally diverse. I reads and links from all walks of life and I appreciated your comments. Best of luck on your teaching endeavors. As a children's book illustrator, teachers are some of my favorite people.
I posted my Little Black Sambo comments on the book review blog.My skin color is white, but I grew up in southeast Asia as a minority, in a world of brown. I and my siblings were called derogatory names wherever we went.So, my comments may be of interest.Thanks, much, for bringing up an EXCELLENT issue in books for childrenRinda M. Byers
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