Father Happy After German Publisher Agrees To Change Phrases in Children's Book
Mekonnen Mesghena wrote a letter to German publishers Thienemann asking them to change a few phrases in the children's book "Die Kleine Hexe" (The Little Witch) and is happy that the changes will be seen in the next edition of the book.
Mekonnen Mesghena wasn't too pleased that he had to edit and read out the children's book "Die Kleine Hexe" (The Little Witch) to his 7-year-old daughter, Timnit, because it contained phrases like "nigger." So Mesghena wrote a letter to German Publishers Thienemann asking them to make a few changes. The publishers agreed but faced the wrath of many educated Germans who accused the publishing house of "censorship and of unnecessarily meddling with a beloved classic."
However, the publishing house said that they would be sticking to their decision. Director of the publishing house, Klaus Willberg, said the decision allows them to "stay up to date with changes in language and politics." He added: "We will now be trawling through all our classics."
Nine-year-old Ishema Kane, whose father is Senegalese and mother German, has attracted considerable media attention with her angry reaction to the Der Ziet's coverage of the racism row. "I am milk-coffee brown," she wrote. "And I find it totally rubbish the idea that the word 'negro' should stay in children's books. You cannot possibly imagine what it feels like when I have to hear or read that word. It is really terrible."
Mesghena is happy that the new edition of the book will carry the edited text and says his daughter too will be most delighted to continue reading the book. "She's really looking forward to being able to continue reading what is a really riveting story," he said. "And I'm looking forward to not having to edit it as I read".