Rooting out racism in children’s books

Ten years ago, I sat down with my then 8-year-old daughter to read a book before bedtime. The book was sort of a modern-day “boy who cried wolf” story, only it was about a little girl named Lucy who had a bad habit of telling lies.

In the story, Lucy borrowed her friend Paul’s bike and crashed it. Lucy lied to Paul, telling him “a bandit” jumped in her path and caused the crash. I saw the image and stopped reading. I was stunned. The image on the page was the racist stereotype of the “Mexican bandit” wearing a serape, sombrero and sandals.

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