Racial Insensitivity in Children’s Book

Please direct me to where there was a smiling face during slavery?

I’ll wait. Oh, right, there wasn’t!

So, for author Emily Jenkins to include illustrations in her children’s book where slaves are smiling and exuding pleasantry, is completely unnerving with a big side of inaccuracies.

Jenkins’ book, A Fine Dessert, was published in January and tells the stories of “four families, in four different countries, over four centuries” making blackberry fool.

Let’s direct our attention to a mother-daughter duo who are depicted as slaves residing in Charleston in 1810.

Next offense: Before the mother and daughter are shown preparing and serving a fool for a white family, they hid in a cupboard licking the bowls.


*insert a variety of expletives* But the racist insults aren’t over.

Illustrator Sophia Blackall decided that smiles adorning the faces of the mother and daughter was a proper reflection of what life was for indentured servants.

A Fine Dessert made the New York Times’ best illustrated books of 2015, and soon after grabbed controversial attention for its “misleading depiction of slavery.”

Amid the critical analysis and scorning of the author, an apology has since been issued by Jenkins:

“I have come to understand that my book, while intended to be inclusive and truthful and hopeful, is racially insensitive. I own that and am very sorry.”

With efforts to sweeten her apology, Jenkins also noted that she will be donating the earned fee from her children’s book to “We Need Diverse Books.”

Read more commentary here.