Should We Burn Babar? (Kohl)

This provocatively titled collection of essays calls for not only a more radical approach to selecting literature, but urges us to teach young children to see stories, particularly older ones (classics though they may be) with more critical eyes. In addition to Babar, Kohl takes on the perennially safe (and generally inaccurate) portrayal of Rosa Parks’ role in the Montgomery Bus Boycott. He compares textbook account and shows the true danger of what Adichie calls “a single story.” He does not leave it there; instead, he puts together the story as he thinks it should read.

In these days, when there is much talk of 21st Century Education, Kohl reminds us – in several inspiring passages – of the importance of stories for children. His book is also a call for us to examine the not always conventional sources of our philosophies of education. As with many good books, he sent me on a search for other sources, both fiction and otherwise.

A powerful and highly recommended book.

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