Prejudice in print is not new. Nor is concern about it, especially in relation to children. In the contemporary societies of Europe and North America, however, confronting the issues of racism leads to a new reappraisal of children’s literature and learning materials.
This book identifies some of the forms that racism takes in literature and learning materials and illustrates ways in which the school curriculum may be affected and children’s minds may be conditioned. It records some of the current approaches to racist materials for children and some of the strategies for combat that have proved effective. It describes initiatives by parents and communities, by teachers and librarians, by publishers and those working in the media, that actively challenge biased materials and raise the consciousness of children and those who work with them.
It is hoped that all who work with children or are training to do so will see the book as being directly relevant to the ways in which they use books and learning aids with children.
So many people have helped me to put this book together that I can only thank them all collectively here. My thanks also go to those on whose research and writing I have drawn freely, and who will find themselves acknowledged both in the text and in the list of recommended reading.
In recording the changes which may have resulted from these earlier writings I hope this book may itself be an instrument of further change.
I would like to thank Jessica Yates for pointing out a number of errors; I have taken the opportunity of this reprint to correct them.
Gillian Klein, September 1986