Scholastic has made the decision to withdraw Dav Pilkey’s 2010 graphic novel “The Adventures of Ook and Gluk: Kung-Fu Cavemen from the Future” due to its perpetuation of “passive racism.”
In a statement issued by Scholastic, the publisher stated that it stopped distribution of the title.
“On Monday, March 22, 2021, with the full support of Dav Pilkey, Scholastic halted distribution of the 2010 book ‘The Adventures of Ook and Gluk.’ Together, we recognize that this book perpetuates passive racism.
“We deeply regret this grave mistake. Scholastic removed the book from our websites, stopped fulfilling any orders (domestic or international), contacted our retail partners to explain why this book is no longer available, and requested the return of all inventory. We will take steps to inform schools and libraries that may still have this title in circulation of our decision to withdraw it from publication. “
The statement added: “Throughout our 100-year history, we have learned that trust must be earned every day through 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. ”
Pilkey, who is the author of the “Dog Man” and “Captain Underpants” series, shared an apology that was posted on YouTube in a 45-second clip that featured a typed and signed letter.
“About ten years ago, I created a book about a group of friends saving the world using kung fu and the principles found in Chinese philosophy,” the letter says. “‘The Adventures of Ook and Gluk: Kung-Fu Cavemen from the Future’ was intended to show diversity, equality, and non-violent conflict resolution.
“But this week it struck me that this book also contains harmful racial stereotypes and passively racist images.”
He continued: “I wanted to take this opportunity to publicly apologize for this. It was and is wrong and damaging to my Asian readers, friends and family, and to all Asians. “
Pilkey wrote that Scholastic agreed to share responsibility and reiterated the publisher’s decision to stop publishing new copies of the book and remove current copies from stores and libraries.
“I hope that you, my readers, will forgive me and learn from my mistake that even passive and unintentional stereotypes and racism are harmful to everyone. I apologize and promise to do better, “the apology letter concluded.
In a postscript, Pilkey shared that he will donate the advance and royalties from the sales of ‘The Adventures of Ook and Gluk’ to various charities, including We Need Diverse Books, The AAPI and TheaterWorks USA.
“The Adventures of Ook and Gluk” is a spinoff of Pilkey’s hit series “Captain Underpants” and became a New York Times bestseller after its release. Follow the adventures of two cave boys named Ook and Gluk who meet a martial arts instructor, Master Wong, who teaches them kung fu.
The removal of “The Adventures of Ook and Gluk” follows Dr. Seuss Enterprises’ decision earlier this month to withdraw six Dr. Seuss books due to racist and insensitive imagery, including titles such as “And To Think I Saw Him In Mulberry Street “. and “If I Mane the Zoo”. Other titles affected by the decision include “McElligot’s Pool”, “On Beyond Zebra!”, “Scrambled Eggs Super!” and “The Cat’s Quizzer”.
“These books portray people in hurtful and mean ways,” Dr. Seuss Enterprises told The Associated Press in a statement. “Stopping selling these books is just one part of our commitment and our broader plan to ensure that the Dr. Seuss Enterprises catalog represents and supports all communities and families.”