Sign of the Beaver – New Look – Newbery Honor Book?

sign of the beaver“The Sign of the Beaver” is out with the new cover and many teachers will give it a try.
In 1984, The Sign of the Beaver got an Newbery honor book award. 31 years later, it is still around, now being presented as a fresh read.
Don’t even waste your time considering this book for your students. And no, this book does not have an anti-bullying message, it has a racism message. The white boy in the novel makes numerous racist remarks about Native Americans, expressing his hate, calling them savage, referring to their black bodies and eyes over and over.
This book is not only offensive to Native American students but to all non-white  and white students as well. As someone who spent past 15 years working with kids, I have hard time believing that any 12 year old would think like Matt. Young kids are simply not as prejudiced as the author makes them be. Not sure who can relate to it.
While the story ends with Matt learning survival skills from Attean and his family, which help him survive Maine winter, the message of white superiority and the racial remarks and descriptions take too much from the story for it to ever be an appropriate read in the classroom.

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