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Children's Book Council Changes Criteria When Rush Limbaugh Wins Author of the Year
Controversy over Rush's honor has approached the proportions and nature of the American Civil War
Good, Bad, or Catastrophic?
Rush Limbaugh's first children's book has some good points and some problems, but many of our youngest children in America love it, although it was targeted toward middle school youth. The language and jokes definitely have the level of early elementary school.
Parts of the 250-page illustrated book are fun, a few parts are accurate, some are incorrect, and I am unhappy with its stereotypes.
Still, the talk show host won Author of the Year, nominated for robust sales and voted in by the book's popularity among younger children.
What the Children's Book Council Did
Some members of the children's literature genre - writers, publishers, reviewers, teachers, readers, and others - where aghast when Rush Limbaugh was nominated among others for Author of the Year based on sales of his first children's book with the long name and his Two If By Tea iced tea company's logo (his likeness as Paul Revere) on the cover-
Rush Revere and the Brave Pilgrims: Time-Travel Adventures with Exceptional Americans.
I am compelled to point out that the settlers called themselves Saints and Strangers and in 1840, Sarah Hale (author of Mary Had a little Lamb) declared that "Pilgrims" was the proper name to use going forward, as a few people were already doing - in fact, she wrote several US Presidents about it. More in fact, she invented the notion of Thanksgiving that is taught in schools today, albeit largely incorrect.
In response to complaints about Limbaugh's nomination, the Children's Book Council wrote this paragraph in an open letter to any who would like to read their reaction -
The Author of the Year and Illustrator of the Year finalists are determined solely based on titles’ performances on the bestseller lists – all titles in those categories are listed as a result of this protocol. Some of you have voiced concerns over the selection of finalists from bestseller lists, which you feel are potentially-manipulable indications of the success of a title. We can take this into consideration going forward, but cannot change our procedure for selecting finalists after the fact.
Reference: http://www.cbcbooks.org/a-letter-from-the-cbc-and-ecar-about-the-childrens-choice-book-awards-finalists/#.U3jYkCimVxW Retrieved May 17, 2014.
How heavily did the extra 15,000 book copies Rush distributed at no charge impact his award based on a nomination received because of his total number of copies distributed free/sold?
Author of the Year and his book - Rating
I rate this book at three stars, because of some inaccurate history, some lack of research, some below-target-grade-level language, and stereotypes.
On the plus side, many kids and adults love a talking horse.
Many people also want something more these days to symbolize American Patriotism in the lead up to the 2014 mid-term and 2016 Presidential elections, and this might be it at present.
Do you like talking horses?
Rush's Horse Liberty
Kids love the time-traveling, talking horse. I like talking horses - I like Mr. Ed. Francis the Talking Mule was funny during WWII. However, Liberty the Horse is sarcastic and I could do without that. Why can't characters - and people - be straightforward and genuine when they are presumably trying to teach facts?
Politics Be D*mned
Limbaugh is related to 17th and 18th century European Americans through the Tyrell (many spellings used) Family from England in Colonial Virginia, as are Barack Obama and even me.
This gives him an interest in writing about American History besides the income aspect of children's literature and perhaps to a lesser extent, the use of it for propaganda.
Glenn Beck said on his radio program circa 2009 that Rush and he are Rodeo Clowns. What does this mean?
The clowns at rodeos are professional stunt people who buffoon their way around the ring to distract animals like bucking bulls from killing their thrown riders, while entertaining the crowds. Beck and Limbaugh behave similarly, inciting near riots among listeners on political topics and events and perhaps the chaos distracts from other politicians and events- I can't sort it out.
What I do understand is that both radio hosts make a lot of money and Rush's kids books are supposed to makes lots more money and, secondarily, bolster the presentation of his worldview of conservatism. I think politics is the lesser important of the two.
Two Self Promoters Take Over Thanksgiving
My problem with the 5-star reviews for Rush's book is that many of the people who like it declare it to be accurate history, when it is not accurate history.
Rush includes some facts that are not taught in schools - like the colorful clothing the Saints wore, rather than the black and white that an American woman, Sarah Hale in 1840 invented for them as a marketing ploy in her Victorian Bible of the Parlor. However, Rush omits too many facts and changes others.
An Example of "Two If By Tea"
My 13th-or-more-distant cousin Rush Limbaugh sits on his talking horse Liberty and holds up a bottle of Two If By Tea bottled beverage.
The real Saint's men's hat after the first year of settlement in the New World.
The Real Governor Bradford and Myles Standish
We know that Sarah Hale (see link in the righthand column) is responsible for the acceptance of the image we have of Pilgrims and Thanksgiving as we know it in North America. In psychology, this decades-long campaign of hers is not only marketing but also a device called image management - controlling what others think. Dysfunctional individuals use it, but alcohol/substance abusers and their codependents are often the people most talked about when discussing, teaching about, or writing about image management.
Sarah succeeded in her marketing campaign - many of us love Thanksgiving! However, our young people need to know the truth. There was no pie, because no flour was available for crusts, but there was a lot of beer. Natives were massacred soon after.
Governor Bradford also did some image managing in the writings he allowed to become public. He kept much of the food (game meat and other food) locked up in storage to prevent waste, especially by Saints/Pilgrims who did not want to work.
Bradford's locked storage is one reason that the 90+ natives brought an abundance of food with them to the "thanksgiving" - to feed themselves and to feed the settlers. Moreover, the natives already held a thanksgiving every month at the phase of the full moons, for which they had sacred names. Even further, the Spanish held thanksgivings in America 200 years or more before Plymouth Rock.
Taking the image of William Bradford to the extreme on film, the gutsy Free Birds (2013) portrays him as a fat glutton who eats when and what he wants, while starving the other settlers.
I don't think matters were as bad as in Free Birds, but they were not good. In this animated film, the turkeys wear feathered headpieces and war paint and represent the maltreated natives that were killed soon after the 1621 meal. Myles Standish is not the hero that Limbaugh says he is, but a slaughterer of peaceful natives. Bloodthirsty natives that attacked Whites first came much later.
Born on the 4th of July
A modern "Indian" girl is pictured with a white face and black hair in Rush Revere... and is named "Freedom", because she was born on the 4th of July. However, she is poor and wears only raggedy clothes. Other kids say she smells bad (nearly the first thing one race says about another when being bigoted). She has magic powers of communicating with animals, but then "all Indians do" (the undercurrent of suggestion implies).
Later, a Native America man who was trained in the King's English says, "Me learn English from fishing men who come for cod." This gives me a headache.
A Caucasian boy that accompanies Rush Revere and his horse Liberty in a number of time travels is a sports enthusiast and participant who is intelligent and seems to hide his smarts. I don't think this image helps white males very much.
Between traveling from 2013 to 1621 and back several times, Rush Revere and his small group stop by a 1950s diner for a meal. I believe that the 1950s diner has become a symbol of patriotism in this book as well as of Americana and I don't know if that equation balances.
Meanwhile, Rush Revere states that Indians whooped and hollered at Thanksgiving (maybe so) and that a native language was gibberish (poor choice of words). I immediately thought of the baseball mascot Chief Wahoo of the Cleveland Indians.
Symbols of America
Are diners patriotic?
Native American Patriots
- Comanche Code Talkers Of WWII Awarded Congressional Medal
- POW Creek Indian In the 1942 Bataan Death March Rece...
Native Americans in their 90s finally received their WWII medals just weeks after a US Senator likened his 21-hour speech chore to the Death March of Bataan.
- The Role of "Buffalo Soldiers" in the Native-America...
Buffalo Soldiers received their nickname as an honor from Native Americans for several reasons.
Slavery and Native Americans
Rush's book talks about Native Americans enslaved only in Spain. I cannot say that this is correct.
I recently read a study showing that the majority of people under age 30 in America know nothing of the Holocaust of World War II or believe that it never occurred. This is what can happen when history is ignored, hidden, and spun. I know people who were in concentration camps and I remember in-laws that fled Eastern Europe before they could be incarcerated in those death camps. Many younger people do not have that experience or instruction in the Holocaust events and that is the point of this paragraph - stop teaching it and it goes away.
So what do we want America's kids to believe about the Saints and Strangers and Native Americans of 1621?
The most vocal of the journalists against Limbaugh receiving the author's award pounce on the fact that Rush's book glances by slavery and Native American maltreatment.
Native North, South and Central Americans were the first slaves here, but the English settlers could not control Native Americans for long. The starving Black Africans that arrived half-dead on slave ships, settlers could control. In fact, some of my ancestors among the Mohawk, Oneida, and Seneca Nations married settlers and owned black slaves themselves before the Revolutionary War (I don't like it, but I can't change it).
Rush's book states that the native Squanto was enslaved in Spain. Roots Web genealogy site states that Squanto was captured with four or five others of his nation, trained in English to become a guide, and returned with Europeans (notably John Smith) to the New World.
One of Smith's lieutenants took Squanto and several other natives to Spain and attempted to sell them for 20 British pounds each. The point is that Rush Revere... suggests that only Spain was a slaver nation. In truth, Spain was ahead of England in settling the New World, and those from around the Arctic Circle who became Native North Americans were ahead of everybody else, Vikings included.
The book states that America is the first and best democracy, but this is incorrect. The Iroquois Confederacy of the Eastern US and Canada is the oldest continuously functioning representative democracy in the world.
Another problem is that Rush makes his character Squanto say that William Bradford is a friend and holy man, whose God saved Squanto from slavery. This makes my spine cringe and my hair stand on end, for it is fiction that people will believe, because a radio personality wrote it. Squanto was not that loyal to Bradford or any Whites after the Saints began shooting rifles into the air during Thanksgiving 1621 and after the first massacre of natives.
While many Native Americans receive(d) stipends from casinos or reparations money from the federal government, I and thousands of others are not among them, because many groups are not recognized by the government. Ironically, one recognized tribe with a casino and many other businesses in Connecticut, a Pequot group, is now composed almost totally of non-natives.
Few youth K-12 know any of the data in the last few paragraphs and it is not in Rush's book. For a target audience of grades 6-8, I think it all needs to be included.
Rush, calling himself a "harmless, lovable, little fuzzball", writes on his blog that at the awards ceremony for Author of the Year, he was approached by large numbers of immigrants who told him how special America is and how much they love being here, how it has changed their lives. I think he is equating them with the settlers at Plymouth and in a way, they are the same, but plenty of longer-term residents of USA have been struggling for a long time, almost as hard as the "Pilgrims" struggled and worked.
Duane A. Cline. Squanto. Roots Web. http://www.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~mosmd/squanto.htm Retrieved May 17, 2014.
Rush Limbaugh. RushLimbaugh.com. http://www.rushlimbaugh.com/daily/2014/05/15/thank_you_to_everyone_for_making_me_the_children_s_choice_book_awards_author_of_the_year Retrieved May 17, 2014.
Debbie Reese. American Indians In Children's Literature. http://americanindiansinchildrensliterature.blogspot.com/2014/03/rush-limbaughs-rush-revere-and-brave.html Retrieved May 17, 2014.
Why did Rush Revere stop at a 1950s diner?
The Reviews at Amazon
At this writing, Rush Revere... has over 3,400 customer reviews of which 87.4% are 5 stars out of 5. About 100 of the reviews are of only one star. Thus, most people who commented liked the book very much. How many books were free? I would have to count the number of "Verified Purchase" tags for the reviewers to find out, but on the first page of reviews, some reviewers do not have the tag.
Kerry Veach's review caught my eye, revealing that the origin of the Mayflower journey is inaccurate in the book:
... He [Limbaugh] totally omits John Carver from the book and lists William Bradford as the organizer of the trip to the new world. The accurate historical account is that John Carver and Robert Cushman were responsible for securing the Mayflower in England by using John's own money, along with a company that also sponsored the trip. Carver was also organizer of the voyage to the new world!...
Many 5-star reviews state that the book is totally historically accurate.
Me don't thinkum so.
Author of the Year Finalists
- Jeff Kinney, Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Hard Luck.
- Rush Limbaugh, Rush Revere and the Brave Pilgrims: Time-Travel Adventures with Exceptional Americans.
- Rick Riordan, The House of Hades (Heroes of Olympus, Book 4).
- Veronica Roth, Allegiant.
- Rachel Renee Russell, Dork Diaries 6: Tales from a Not-So-Happy Heartbreaker.