Scholastic: Don't Whitewash Colonial History

Whitewashed Colonial History Children’s Book Still in Print

Scholastic’s If You Lived in Colonial Times, first published in 1964 and updated in 1992, describes people in colonial New England as white and Protestant. The biggest threat to the generally peaceable colonists, according to the author, is that you might be “killed by some Indians” or a hungry wolf.

Apart from the racist demonization of “Indians,” the book all but ignores native nations, people of color, and non-Christians. The only reference to Africans and the institution of slavery is in the final pages. McGovern describes the lumber and shipbuilding industry, and says that “some ships brought people who were not glad to come. These people came from Africa. They were sold as slaves, and they would never see their homes again.” Read our full review.

History can be presented honestly at a developmentally appropriate level for young people. This book promotes dangerous myths to children in their early stages of identity formation. Write to Scholastic to let them know that this book should no longer be published nor distributed.

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