Scholastic, nation’s largest children’s book publisher, erases Israel from map

Map of Middle EastThe Arab world’s wish is a leading children’s book publisher’s command. From The Times of Israel:

Arab textbooks are not the only ones erasing Israel from their maps. Scholastic, the world’s largest publisher of children’s books, has also eliminated the Jewish state in a book.

“Thea Stilton and the Blue Scarab Hunt,” one title in a series of children’s books published by Scholastic, tells of a group of investigative journalists involved in a treasure hunt in Egypt. At the outset of the narrative, young readers are given a map of modern Egypt and its neighboring countries — well, most of them anyway. Israel has been swallowed up by Jordan.

Adina Golombek, a Jerusalem resident who emigrated to Israel from Canada last year, told the Times she was shocked to discover that her chosen homeland was AWOL from the map:

I wanted to show my [7-year-old] son where we lived in the Middle East, but it didn’t say Israel on the map; instead it said Jordan. I showed him the problem and drew in the border of where Israel is today.

Scholastic, which owns exclusive U.S. rights to the phenomenally popular Harry Potter series, should have deep enough pockets to hire a map artist familiar with present-day geography, Kyle Good, a spokesman for the company, explains the omission as a seeming error in translation:

The Geronimo Stilton series is published in Italy and Scholastic translates the books for the U.S. audience. I’m awaiting a response from the editorial team regarding the timing of reprints and whether this will be corrected. I will get back to you as soon as I have their response. [Emphasis added]

Whether? They needn’t rush. Israel isn’t going anywhere, and American parents and teachers who care about the omission can circumvent the problem by avoiding the title when selecting reading for their young charges.

The Times refers readers to a recent study conducted by Israeli and Palestinian researchers which found that 96% of Palestinian school textbooks fail to mention Israel by name in their maps. By the same token, 87% of Israeli school textbooks do not designate the Palestinian Territories by name. What’s the old adage about two wrongs?

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