Solihull Mum's fury at children's book with 'racist' language in - The Solihull Observer

Solihull Mum's fury at children's book with 'racist' language in

Solihull Editorial 19th Jan, 2018 Updated: 22nd Jan, 2018   0

AN OUTRAGED Solihull mum has slammed a children’s book containing racist language.

Jay Desai was shocked when her nine-year-old daughter came home from Greswold Primary School on Monday and said her reading book, Deadly Letter by Mary Hoffman, contained a rude word.

Jay found the word ‘Paki’ had been used five times over three pages.

Deadly Letter, first published in 1990, tells the story of Prity who has just arrived in England from India and is struggling to fit in at her new school to start with and eventually finds friendship and starts to feel more at home

Speaking to The Observer Jay said: “I don’t know how it was published in the first place let alone distributed to schools.

“It makes comments about white people – all again very disgusting especially when the book is aimed at six and seven-year-olds.”

Jay immediately raised her concerns with Greswold Primary headteacher Karen Scott.

The school acted quickly and told The Observer it had removed the book from the library.

Jay added: “The school have been excellent in the way they dealt with the issue.

“They listened to my opinion and took on board my concern about how way the book was available to children.

“In certain situations, if being someone was being bullied, the book is great as it shows how child feels when they are being bullied, but I don’t think that particular word should be used in a book, especially one aimed at children.”

Jay even tweeted the author about her concerns who responded quickly.

In a statement Mrs Hoffman said: “I am very sorry if anyone was upset or offended by my book, which was the opposite of my intention.

“I wrote the story partly to highlight casual racism which begins even in primary schools.

“My husband is half-Indian. I have three mixed-race children, now adults, and have been fighting racism all my adult writing life.”

A spokesperson from publishers Barrington Stoke said the offensive word was deliberately to show the racism Prity was confronted with and the impact such vocabulary had on her.

A spokesman added: “As publishers, we have every confidence in Mary’s ability to tackle the difficult subject of playground racism and bullying truthfully and with sensitivity.

“The use of this offensive term is challenged in different ways – and there is absolutely no sense in which the word is seen as acceptable.

“Our belief is that this story shows a proper, nuanced understanding of the issues involved in a way that we hope is appropriate for young readers.”

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