Scholastic Publishing Company is the largest children’s book publishing company in the world. It is based in the United States. Among the books series it publishes are Harry Potter, the Magic School Bus and The Hunger Games.
Early Wednesday, Nov. 13, news stories began to appear that Scholastic published a book with a map of the Middle East that has no Israel on it.
By early Wednesday afternoon, the folks at Scholastic had already issued an apology and publicized its plan of action. That’s quick action. But is it enough?
The book which literally wiped Israel off the map, Thea Stilton and the Blue Scarab Hunt, is one in a series of many dozens. The adventure stories, written by an Italian author, centers on a mouse, Geronimo Stilton and his relatives, one of whom is his sister, Thea.
The series is one of the most popular childrens book series in the world.
The Blue Scarab book is about an archeological excavation in Egypt. It was published in June, 2012, but the alarm about the missing nation was first raised Wednesday, Nov. 13, in an article in the Times of Israel.
Within hours an apology appeared on the Scholastic website:
Response on Thea Stilton and the Blue Scarab HuntKyle Good November 13th, 2013
As you have probably heard, Thea Stilton and the Blue Scarab Hunt, a title in the Geronimo Stilton series, published by Scholastic, includes a map that omits Israel. Scholastic is immediately stopping shipment on this title, revising the map, and going back to reprint. We regret the omission which was in the original version of the book published in Italy and was translated by our company for English language distribution.
Thank you for your patience and understanding in this matter.
To Scholastic’s credit, the link to the apology appears right on the website’s homepage. But the book remains easily available. A Jewish Press reporter went to several online bookselling websites and could order the book without any problem or warning. One can also see the nefarious map by clicking on some sites’ “Look Inside” feature.
The story seems to take place in modern times, as references are made to the ancient names for various places. But for those who wonder whether the story takes place prior to the rebirth of the Jewish state, such recent countries as Jordan (came into existence in 1946), Saudi Arabia (1932), and Libya (1951), are clearly labeled.
About the Author: Lori Lowenthal Marcus is the US correspondent for The Jewish Press. She is a recovered lawyer who previously practiced First Amendment law and taught in Philadelphia-area graduate and law schools.
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