District removes ‘Skippyjon’ books

The ”Skippyjon Jones” book series has been pulled from school libraries for its stereotypical portrayals of Hispanics.

CRESWELL – Creswell School District officials have removed the controversial ”Skippyjon Jones” children’s books from school libraries following a letter on the topic from Creswell resident Joelle Jordan.
Jordan contacted school and city officials via email on Dec. 30, 2019, expressing concern regarding the Hispanic stereotypes reinforced in the book series, which was readily accessible in school libraries and classrooms. The series has generated worldwide notoriety for its author, Judith Byron Schachner.
Mike Johnson, the district’s superintendent, said the process and decision to remove the books was straightforward.
”We received a complaint, reviewed the materials, and we made a decision to pull the materials from the library,” he said.
Creswell Library Director Su Liudahl said the books have been in their collection for several years, and that she and colleague Nick Caum, the youth librarian, haven’t received complaints or heard negative comments about the books.
The Creswell Library Board is scheduled to discuss the issue at its regular board meeting next Tuesday at 5:30 p.m.
Liudahl said she has not been asked to remove the books at this time.
Liudahl explained the paradox for librarians and library boards in attempting to support both freedom of information and cultural sensitivities, and emphasized that parents are the best arbiters for their children’s content.
”As professional librarians, Nick and I are philosophically against banning books – even books with questionable content – because we believe in freedom of information, which is a core library value. We strongly encourage parents to be involved in selecting and evaluating children’s materials.
”We also want to be sensitive to anything that could be culturally offensive to our constituents,” Liudahl added. ”With the current, more culturally-sensitive lens with which we are seeing content like this in 2020, we likely would not select these books for the collection. Nevertheless, children clearly love the books.
”Therefore, before making any decision, the board will discuss and weigh the potential harm of the unfortunate stereotypes in the books against the value of children’s desire to read them, giving parents the ultimate choice of whether or not they are appropriate,” she said.



View this profile on Instagram


The Chronicle (@thechronicle1909) • Instagram photos and videos