Posted on 11/27/2018 at 10:24 AM by Sadye Scott-Hainchek

Abrams ComicsArts has canceled plans to publish a graphic novel about a young suicide bomber.

A Suicide Bomber Sits in the Library came under heavy criticism by social media users as well as the Asian Author Alliance, whose open letter condemning the book netted a thousand writers’ signatures.

The Hollywood Reporter shared an excerpt from the letter:

The premise alone is steeped in Islamophobia and profound ignorance. Further, though the text refers to the characters as boys, the illustrations of brown-skinned individuals with receding hairlines and dark circles under their squinting, villainous eyes are dehumanizing and do not seem in any way child-like.

Over the weekend, Abrams pulled the book from Amazon and issued a statement on Tumblr, saying in part: “While the intention of the book was to help broaden a discussion about the power of literature to change lives for the better, we recognize the harm and offense felt by many at a time when stereotypes breed division, rather than discourse.”

The statement didn’t exactly smooth everything over. Publishers Weekly noted that some critics questioned why the apology behaved as though the book was for adults when early marketing seemed targeted at children.

Jack Gantos, who has won both a Newbery Medal and Scott O’Dell Award, adapted a short story he’d previously written for the graphic novel.

In that story, a young boy of Middle Eastern descent goes to a library prepared to commit a suicide bombing but changes his mind after watching patrons engrossed in their books.

Read more on the Hollywood Reporter, Publishers Weekly, CBR, and the Guardian

Categories: Today in Books

Tagged As: Graphic novel, Scandal

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