The L.A. Times reports that Scholastic is carefully “screening”, or should we say, bowdlerizing, or more to the point, censoring, books to be translated into Arabic. By careful they mean no dredels or other symbols of Jewish culture, no magic, no birthdays and no Clifford the Big Red Dog-he’s unclean! And they darkened Heidi’s skin, too. She was just too white, and European. The awful mistake in this translation was that they overlooked painting out a church steeple in one of the illustrations. How sad to miss an opportunity to obliterate vestiges of a Christian world in a book destined for countries where their religious and cultural heritages are founded on just that obliteration of other cultures. Just imagine if a state board of education were to do this very same thing?
The article stresses the incredible revelations into the outside world that these books bring. I’d find some revelations reading these books, too. Other religions? They don’t exist. Heidi’s a dark-skinned Arab? I never knew that either.
I wonder how any attempts to garner this sort of accommodation from a publisher for American Christians would play out? It don’t suppose it would be so pretty. You know, maybe Scholastic and the Hate League of Arab speaking countries have more in common than we think.
Here’s a review of a book by Allan Zullo entitled Survivors: True Stories of Children in the Holocaust. Will we ever see this book translated into Arabic and introduced to their schools? It’s a Scholastic imprint, why not?