Publisher Pulls Controversial Picture Book About Slavery

The publisher of a controversial children's book about George Washington and his slaves is now pulling the book from distribution. Publisher Scholastic says it will no longer distribute the picture book, A Birthday Cake for George Washington.

George Washington first became a slave owner in 1743, at age eleven, after his father died.
By the time of his own death, his plantation's enslaved population consisted of more than 300 people.

The book in question features Hercules, a slave, wearing a huge smile as he bakes the president a birthday cake. The blurb says Hercules "takes great pride" in the task.

Critics say the book sugarcoats the tragedy of slavery.

Scholastic admitted the picture book does not include enough historical context -- and could give a false impression about slavery.

Do you think Scholastic, the publishing company did the right thing by pulling the book from shelves? Or do you think Freedom of Speech should be considered and controversy shouldn't be a reason to halt publication? Supporters of this side of the debate say by pulling the book, it eliminates a reader's ability to evaluate and discuss the topic. Let us know what you think -- first by voting in our survey, and then by writing to us and explaining your choice.  

Instructional Links

Newspaper Article: The Washington Post:Scholastic pulls children’s book starring George Washington’s ‘happy’ slaves

Website: George Washington's Mount Vernon

Website: George Washington's Mount Vernon: Hercules

Website: George Washington's Mount Vernon:10 Facts About Washinton and Slavery

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