(ABC4) – A popular graphic novel for children from the “Captain Underpants” series is being pulled from libraries and book stores after its publisher announced it “perpetuates passive racism.”
In a statement, Scholastic says it halted distribution of the 2010 book “The Adventures of Ook and Gluk,” with the full support of author Dav Pilkey.
“Together, we recognize that this book perpetuates passive racism. We are deeply sorry for this serious mistake,” the statement reads. “Scholastic has removed the book from our websites, stopped fulfillment of any orders (domestically or abroad), contacted our retail partners to explain why this book is no longer available, and sought a return of all inventory. We will take steps to inform schools and libraries who may still have this title in circulation of our decision to withdraw it from publication.”
According to the Associated Press, the book follows a pair of friends who travel from 500,001 B.C. to 2222, where a martial arts instructor teaches them kung fu and they learn principles found in Chinese philosophy.
“Throughout our 100 year history, we have learned that trust must be won every day by total vigilance. It is our duty and privilege to publish books with powerful and positive representations of our diverse society, and we will continue to strengthen our review processes as we seek to support all young readers,” Scholastic continues in the statement.
Pilkey apologized in a YouTube statement, saying he intends to donate his advance and all royalties from the book’s sales to groups dedicated to stopping violence against Asians and promoting diversity in children’s books and publishing.
“I hope that you, my readers, will forgive me, and learn from my mistake that even unintentional and passive stereotypes and racism are harmful to everyone. I apologize, and I pledge to do better.”
Earlier this month, those responsible for the estate of Dr. Seuss announced six of his books would no longer be published because they contained racist images.