Where is Dr. Seuss when you need him?
The sleuths over at Bossip unearthed a children’s book released in January 2015 that glamorizes slavery so hard, you’ll think you’re reading about a party—not, ya know, human imprisonment. It’s called A Fine Dessert (written by Emily Jenkins), and there is nothing fine about it.
It tells the story of a slave mother and her daughter who make some kind of blackberry dessert for their master and his family. Oh, but don’t worry, they get to lick the spoon and scraps from the bowl. What a treat!
An early page from the book reads, “A bit more than two hundred years ago, outside a city called Charleston, South Carolina, a girl and her mother picked blackberries from the plantation garden.” There is no mention of servitude or the fact they were probably forced to pick these blackberries. The entire story is framed as a mother and her daughter bopping along and making this dessert just for fun. We’re literally shaking our heads at the whitewashing. What is this, Gilmore Girls?
The story hits a cringe-worthy climax when the duo serves (serves!) dinner to their master and his family, but later enjoy the leftovers in secret. The photo during this part of the story depicts the mother and daughter hiding in a cupboard licking the bowl clean like this is a damn banquet. What. The. Hell?
Oh! And even worse? This book is garnering awards buzz! Because we still don’t know anything in the 21st century, apparently.
Twitter is clearly unhappy about A Fine Dessert. Check out these POed reactions:
"We should hold those who create literature for children to a standard that doesn't lie to them." https://t.co/oPIW7OiJ6w
— Cindy Marie Jenkins (@cindymariej) November 2, 2015
A book is an act of community. How it's edited, packaged, how it's received, where it can be found, all these things speak about who we are
— Daniel José Older (@djolder) November 1, 2015
How to use A Fine Dessert in the classroom As a doorstop To stabilise a rickety table To swat flies To cover puke https://t.co/yR91smXS34
— Tired of (@zagbah) October 28, 2015
@fangirlJeanne a fine dessert? THEY JUST GOT TO LICK THE BOWL! THEY DIDN'T EVEN GET A FULL DESSERT WHO THE MINT SCENTED #$@# WROTE THIS?!
— Spider Doof Warrior (@chromesthesia) October 26, 2015
I'm sorry I wasn't clear: This disturbing book is A Fine Dessert; even more disturbing, there's award buzz around it https://t.co/XnbWR9prmD
— Emily L. Hauser (@emilylhauser) October 26, 2015
We get this is a children’s story, but putting slavery in any positive light is wrong. It’s 2015, people. Why does this book feel like it was written in the pre-Civil War era when slavery was legal? Head over to Bossip to read excerpts from the book, and let us know your thoughts in the comments.