Darcy Reeder, in her article, "The Time I Called Out a Children’s Book Author For Letting Girls Down," took exception to the exclusive use of "men" in the children's book Moonshot: The Flight of Apollo 11, written and illustrated by Brian Floca. The word "men" grated on her as she read the book to her three-year-old daughter so much that she wrote a letter to Floca about his use of "men."
Unlike many dry books on the topic, this one has a gripping narrative. It managed to keep even my 3-year-old engaged.
Floca responded not only to her email, but said he truly believed that everyone in Mission Control and who had participated in the Apollo 11 mission had been male.
But there was one line in his response that stood out, a sentence that told me my own work here wasn’t done: “If anyone can find the story of a woman who was working there,” Floca wrote, “I’d be happy and interested.”
Of course, Ms. Reeder responded with a list of women, including Katherine Johnson and Margaret Hamilton. More important, she discovered that 17.5% of NASA workers at the time had been women.
Out of the blue, Floca sent Ms. Reeder "a free, signed copy of the new expanded edition of Moonshot, released in honor of the 50th anniversary of the first moon landing." And in it he had changed out many of the "men" to gender neutral terms and even added a page of drawings showing a diverse group of people at NASA.
So speaking up can make a difference. Thank you Darcy Reeder for channeling your rage into positive change.
Shout Outs & Call Outs
Let us know if you have any Shout Outs to people doing positive things to promote women authors and women's literature or Call Outs of instances that reinforce male bias in the publishing industry or disparage women authors or women's literature.