It's okay to update a classic children's book to reflect changing mores ...
- if the changes made are incidental rather than integral to the plot (see these changes made to Robert Lawson's Caldecott-winning THEY WERE STRONG AND GOOD, for example).
- if the publisher includes a note in the re-issue explaining the reasoning behind the change (as Roger Sutton references here).
- if the author is still alive and wants the changes (for instance, me).
- if the copyright holder (a descendant) is still alive and authorizes the changes.
Publishers, if a book from the past is unchanged, isn't it more helpful to package it with a vintage look to cue historical fiction instead of using a contemporary art or model to "draw in young readers"?
Educators and parents, how do you lead discussions around these topics with children/teens? Any tools or best practices you can share with the rest of us?
For more on this, author Laurel Snyder leads a discussion on her blog, where she invited me to share my thoughts on Edward Eager (HALF-MAGIC) and racism.