Scholastic has halted the production of a children's book by "Captain Underpants" author Dav Pilkey, for the book's "passive racism." "The Adventures of Ook and Gluk," which was first published in 2010, will no longer be sold, Scholastic announced last week, adding that Pilkey was supportive of the decision.
"Together, we recognize that this book perpetuates passive racism," Scholastic said in a statement. "We are deeply sorry for this serious mistake." Scholastic has removed the book from its websites, and has stopped fulfillment of any orders. Scholastic has also asked retail partners to return all inventory of the book.
"We will take steps to inform schools and libraries who may still have this title in circulation of our decision to withdraw it from publication," Scholastic said.
On his own YouTube page, Pilkey posted a letter apologizing for the racist imagery in the book. The author said the book, which is about friends who save the world using kung fu and principles found in Chinese philosophy, was "intended to showcase diversity, equality and nonviolent conflict resolution."
"But this week it was brought to my attention that this book also contains harmful racial stereotypes and passively racist imagery," Pilkey wrote. "I wanted to take this opportunity to publicly apologize for this. It was and is wrong and harmful to my Asian readers, friends, and family, and to all Asian people."
"I hope that you, my readers, will forgive me, and learn from my mistake that even unintentional and passive stereotypes and racism are harmful to everyone," he continued. "I apologize, and I pledge to do better."
"The Adventures of Ook and Gluk" is not the only children's book that has been halted due to racist imagery. Earlier this month, the business that preserves and protects' legacy announced that six books will stop being published because of .
"These books portray people in ways that are hurtful and wrong," Dr. Seuss Enterprises told the Associated Press in a statement that coincided with the late author and illustrator's birthday, March 2.
There has been increasing criticism in recent years over the way Black people, Asian people and others are drawn in some of Dr. Seuss' most beloved children's books, as well as in his earlier advertising and propaganda illustrations.