Children’s literature: for white children only?


Originally posted on VulpesLibris:

If anyone had asked me, as a child, if I felt excluded from books, I would not have known what they meant. Books were my home. I lived in Narnia (so why did I return, again and again, to Aravis the Calormene and The Horse and His Boy?). I inhabited Middle Earth (so why did I wish for more about dark-haired Arwen, reading the few pages that contained her over and over again as if her story might magically appear between the lines, like the secret writing on Thror’s map?). I loved Roald Dahl, Tove Jansson and Rudyard Kipling (so why did I pounce, wide-eyed with disbelief, on Leila Berg – my name in print!). Why did I feel so angry and disappointed when I read My Mate Shofiq? Why is the last scene in Disney’s Jungle Book film etched into my mind – the moment that a girl in a sari walked onto the screen for all of 60 eye-lash-batting seconds? It was the first time I had ever encountered an Asian girl in a story…

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