Is The Shepherd’s Grandaughter okay to read to Jewish students?

I’m wondering, would you read this book to your class if you had Jewish students? The book has won several awards and is highly recommended by Gregory Bryan in his book review:

One of the values of Carter’s book is that it presents events from the Palestinian perspective. What little is told in the Western World of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict tends most often to carry a bias toward the Israeli perspective, coloured with the guise of Biblical Promised Lands. Young readers should be reminded that this book presents just one side of what is a complex, bloody story. The ills of the world will not be solved through the mere reading of books, but I think that Carter’s work provides an opportunity for middle and high school readers to gain further information about their world, helping to make them more knowledgeable, understanding (and, I suspect, compassionate) people.
Gregory Bryan teaches in the Faculty of Education at the University of Manitoba, in Winnipeg, MB

If you have read this book, please post an opinion below!


3 thoughts on “Is The Shepherd’s Grandaughter okay to read to Jewish students?

  1. The book clearly takes sides – good Palestinians, bad Israelis. The only good Jews in the story (2 of them, one not Israeli) are the ones who take the side of the Palestinians.

    The book is closer to propaganda than to education, and as the only book on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict that kids in elementary school are likely to be exposed to, it’s terrible.

    Is it okay to read to Jewish students? No. It’s likely to make them uncomfortable. In fact, I saw a review written by a Jewish student that said reading it made her feel terrible – and that was her reading it privately, not the teacher reading about the bad Israelis to the whole class.

    The more important question is: is it okay to read to non-Jewish students?

    No. Think about it: If you wouldn’t read a book to black students because of what the book says about blacks, would it be okay to read it to the white kids?

    I don’t know what the Library Association is thinking of, putting a book like this in the Red Maple program.

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