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Letter to the Editor: Book offerings can be a great resource

To the Editor:

A group of activists attended the Northampton Area School Board meeting to cancel a donation of children’s books to the school district.

On July 19, the NASD school board presented on its agenda a donation of books from The Conscious Kid organization. The activists labeled The Conscious Kid’s books as being “Marxist critical race theory.”

One of those books mentioned by Northampton Press (in a July 22 article) is “I Dissent: Ruth Bader Ginsburg Makes Her Mark.” The book is about the first female Jewish justice of the U.S. Supreme Court, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, written by Debbie Levy and Elizabeth Baddeley.

“Dreamers,” written by Yuyi Morales, is about migrants’ hopes and dreams in the United States. The book was both a New York Times bestseller and a New York Times New York Public Library best illustrated book.

Another New York Times bestseller for donation to the school district is “The Proudest Blue: A Story of Hijab and Family” by Olympic medalist Ibtihaj Muhammad. The book would be a great follow-up to read in the school library now that we are celebrating the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo.

Muhammad is an American sabre fencer. Her bio states “she became the first American woman to compete in the Olympics in hijab and is also the first Muslim woman to win an Olympic medal for the United States.”

These are the story themes and illustrations covered in some of the books. Where is the “Marxist critical race theory”? The activists’ request to the school board may be an unconscious bias toward the books and its authors.

In all fairness, maybe they haven’t read any of the books.

What is being presented by The Conscious Kid books is the multicultural landscape of an array of American peoples’ contributions that has made this country great and everyday stories featuring minority children.

I commend the activists for their approach in an attempt to be colorblind. I encourage their efforts to remove hurtful children’s books that may be circulating in schools’ libraries.

In an effort to join in this endeavor, they should also be focusing on taking away Dr. Seuss’ books that depict Blacks, Asians and Arab people as caricatures. The Seuss Foundation has stopped the publication of several of these books.

Accepting the donation of books from The Conscious Kid organization will be a great resource to the schools’ libraries and a fresh perspective for students. The NASD board of directors and superintendent would be extending a hand of welcome to a growing diverse student population.

The Rev. Nelson Quinones

Allen Township