Canada: Book Demonizes Israel in School Libraries

Posted: 8/26/2010 4:56:00 PM
Author: Elad Benari
Source: This article originally appeared on the Arutz 7 website on Aug. 26, 2010.

Canada: Book Demonizing Israel in School Libraries
by Elad Benari

The school board in Toronto, Canada, has decided to support a novel that portrays IDF soldiers and Judea and Samaria residents in a negative way.

“The Shepherd's Granddaughter” is a novel published in 2008 by Canadian author Anne Laurel Carter. The story tells the tale of a young Arab girl living in Judea and Samaria who wants to be a shepherd like her grandfather. In her quest to become a shepherd, she encounters violent Jewish residents of Judea and Samaria as well as violent Israeli soldiers, who poison some of her sheep, bulldoze her house, shoot and kill her dog, prevent her family from harvesting their olives, and beat and jail her father and uncle.

Toronto parent Brian Henry recently complained to the Toronto District School (TDSB) about the nature of the novel. Henry expressed his concern that the unbalanced book could result in anti-Israel sentiment and anti-Semitism. While he said he did not want the book banned from schools, Henry said in his letter that “our teacher-librarians should not be encouraging our children to read a biased, one-sided and prejudicial account of such a complex and sensitive issue.”

Despite the outrage, however, the TDSB has chosen to continue to support the novel. Chris Spence, the TDSB’s director of education said in a response letter to Henry: “After evaluating this report and taking some time to personally read the novel, my decision is to accept the review committee’s nine recommendations. The Shepherd's Granddaughter has the potential to engage our Grade 7 and 8 students (a critical age for the development of social consciousness about human society) in understanding the complex issues of their world.” This expression of support means that the novel can continue to be offered to students in school libraries throughout Toronto.