Children’s publisher Scholastic announced they have immediately stopped the sale and distribution of a book over allegations of “passive racism.”
The announcement came weeks after six Dr. Seuss books were similarly canceled over allegations of racist imagery.
What are the details?
Scholastic announced last week they would immediately stop distribution of “The Adventures of Ook and Gluk,” a book originally published in 2010.
The book was written by Dav Pilkey, who is known for writing “Captain Underpants” and “Dog Man,” two wildly successful children’s book series that have sold more than 100 million copies.
In a statement, Scholastic said the decision to cancel the book was made with “full support” from Pilkey.
On Monday, March 22, 2021, with the full support of Dav Pilkey, Scholastic halted distribution of the 2010 book The Adventures of Ook and Gluk. Together, we recognize that this book perpetuates passive racism. We are deeply sorry for this serious mistake. Scholastic has removed the book from our websites, stopped fulfillment of any orders (domestically or abroad), contacted our retail partners to explain why this book is no longer available, and sought a return of all inventory. We will take steps to inform schools and libraries who may still have this title in circulation of our decision to withdraw it from publication.
Scholastic did not explain what “passive racism” the book contains.
What did Pilkey say?
In an apology uploaded to YouTube, Pilkey said the book promotes “racial stereotypes” that are “harmful” to Asians.
“About ten years ago I created a book about a group of friends who save the world using Kung Fu and the principles found in Chinese philosophy,” Pilkey said.
“‘The Adventures of Ook and Gluk: Kung-Fu Cavemen from the Future’ was intended to showcase diversity, equality, and non-violent conflict resolution,” he explained. “But this week it was brought to my attention that this book also contains harmful racial stereotypes and passively racist imagery. I wanted to take this opportunity to publicly apologize for this.”
“It was and is wrong and harmful to my Asian readers, friends, and family, and to all Asian people,” Pilkey added.
Pilkey explained that Scholastic is “actively working” to purge existing copies of the book “from retail and library shelves.” He added that he would donate his advance and royalties earned from the book to charities.