By Andrew Bradford
The books in question, which are intended for children, feature characters such as Lazy Lucy, an African girl, and Nieko the Hunting Girl, who is Native American and lives in a cave. The books also refer to Christopher Columbus’ “discovery” of America, which is historically inaccurate.
And as if that isn’t bad enough, in a book entitled Kenya, the residents of the African nation are said to be:
“Able to run very fast.”
Negative or positive stereotypes
A page from the Kenya book showed it was all about running. This led to a brief discussion on the nature of stereotypes:
What Makes Kenya's Marathon Runners The World's Best?
Not for a grade-school primer, anyway. If you're writing an in-depth book on Kenyan runners, that would be another matter.
A stereotype doesn't have to be "negative" to be a problem, you know.
P.S. If I were a publisher, I'd avoid making the lazy character black or Latino. The smart character Asian. The violent character Native. And so forth.