Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Stay in School

"Vamos a Cuba" and its English-language version, "A Visit to Cuba" continue to be in the news. In a previous post, I explained that a Miami school board had voted to remove the books and others in the series for lack of detail. What I read into it is that some Cuban-Americans are upset that the political reality has not been explained in this children's reference book. You can find the full text of this book to judge for yourself. What the board needs to keep in mind is that this and the books on other countries by the same publisher that have been removed cannot be expected to fully depict life in those countries in books for children with 32 pages.

What about adding materials with alternate viewpoints in order to flesh out the collection as opposed to banning these books? That is the question asked by the ACLU and the Miami-Dade County Student Government Association when filing a lawsuit against the school board. For now, the books will remain in the schools.

Footnote: Cuban librarians are weighing in on this one. According to an Associated Press story, Cuban librarians are critical of the Miami-Dade County school board's attempt to ban a children's book because of its positive depiction of life in Cuba.

"It's outrageous the Miami school libraries would prohibit the presence of the book "Vamos a Cuba" because it shows the truth about how our children live," librarian Margarita Bellas Vilarino told the communist youth newspaper Juventud Rebelde.

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