Richard Scarry has been publishing his beloved children’s books since 1949. He wrote over 300 books, selling 300 million copies worldwide.
He spoke a language children understood without failing to entertain. This deep understanding of the child’s mind could be attributed to the differences recently found between the 1963 and 1991 editions of Richard Scarry’s Best Word Book Ever.
Senior photo editor at The Atlantic Alan Taylor discovered these changes while reading the book to his kids. He noted how fantastic a job Scarry did in updating his books to remain current and inclusive of both genders and all races.
For example, note the differences between the book covers. In the updated edition on the right, both mom and dad are in the kitchen, both genders are present on the farm, and the term “policeman” has been changed to “police officer”.
The kitchen isn’t just for mom!
Men can make their own breakfasts, too.
Women can be pilots, and men can be flight attendants.
Job titles in general have been gender-neutralized.
Some jobs typically thought to be for men have been feminized. Girls can be rollers if they want!
And they can play the bass drum, too, if that is their instrument of choice.
Better yet, “Indians” are no longer in the book.
And the playground is far more inclusive, racially speaking.
It feels good to know one of the country’s most prolific children’s book authors is as concerned with destroying gender norms as he should be. Well done, good sir.