A Picture Is Worth A Thousand Words

In Blogs, Current Affairs by Chris KatulkaLeave a Comment

Lately I’ve been reading through the classic book, Winnie the Pooh, with my  3-year-old daughter.

Olive enjoys reading books and she really loves watching Winnie the Pooh, so I thought combining these two would really make her happy. Sadly, the Winnie the Pooh book is free of pictures to keep my little girl entertained while I read, so she tends to get antsy and we resort to watching Winnie the Pooh on the iPhone. (You can judge me in the comments box below, just be gentle.)

Illustrations in children’s books are visual expressions of the few words that are being read aloud. Even though the average children’s book only has about 500 words, the illustrations are full of thousands of unspoken words.

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That’s why I was surprised to see last week that Scholastic, the world’s largest children’s book publisher erased Israel from the map in one of their latest books: Thea Stilton and the Blue Scarab Hunt. (Click here to see image.)

Thea Stilton and the Blue Scarab Hunt is an adventure story about a group of journalists who are on an archaeological hunt for treasure in Egypt.

The map in the book was illustrated to represent a modern look at the Middle East. It included countries like Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, and Jordan. However, when Adina Golombek, a resident of Jerusalem, was reading the book to her son and wanted to point out where they lived, she saw that Jordan completely covered where Israel should be, swallowing up the tiny Jewish state.

So the question is… Was this an intentional deletion of the State of Israel in order to make a political statement?

Well to start, Thea Stilton and the Blue Scarab Hunt originates from Italy and is part of the widely successful Geronimo Stilton series. Unfortunately, today much of Europe is steeped in anti-Israel rhetoric. A recent poll in Europe revealed that in Belgium, Italy, and France, around 60% of their citizens have heard the shocking statement that “Israelis behave to the Palestinians like the Nazis to the Jews.” On top of that, many believe the increase of anti-Israel sentiment in Europe is also leading to the rise of anti-Semitism.

Similar to the map in Thea Stilton and the Blue Scarab Hunt, a majority of Palestinian textbooks omit Israel and replace it with Palestine, educating their children using certain non-verbal political illustrations.

Erasing, deleting, blotting out, and rejecting are  some of the most common ways critics condemn Israel.

We’ll never really know if the map in Thea Stilton and the Blue Scarab Hunt purposely left out Israel. What we do know is that Scholastic stopped printing that edition immediately and had the map updated to include the modern State of Israel thanks to the protest of many upset readers like Adina Golombek.

It’s easy to shrug our shoulders and say “who cares?”  Just remember, a picture is worth a thousand words.


About the Author
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Chris Katulka

Chris Katulka is the director of North American Ministries for The Friends of Israel Gospel Ministry, the host of The Friends of Israel Today radio program, a Bible teacher, and writer for Israel My Glory magazine. He is also the author of Israel Always: Experiencing God’s Pursuit of You Through His Chosen People. If you would like to support Chris, please click here.

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