Thank you to Sugarfree Books for sending me a digital copy of Gabe Faces Ignorance for me to read and review!
When Gabe unintentionally hurts his friend Sofia, he has no idea what he did wrong. It turns out he doesn’t know everything about her, and that his actions have unforeseen consequences. Sofia cleverly directs a conversation they have with her dad to lead Gabe toward a new understanding of their relationship and of his role in promoting bias.
This picture book tackles the topic of ignorance, especially when you don’t think the words you say mean anything. First, the digital art that is sprinkled throughout the book is unique and different. I loved the color palette by Gemma Gould a lot. The book is about 22 pages in length from the first page to the last page, and I think the author, L. I. Forsete, does a great job getting the premise that “knowledge over ignorance” is so important.
Gabe, the main character of the story, plays games on the school playground with other kids. In the start of the book they are running around playing “terrorist”. After the game is over he walks home with his friend Sophie and he learns that she is Muslim. He had no idea, and he didn’t know that she would be offended by the words he just tosses around. As Gabe learns more about Sophie, her dad, and their family and culture, he becomes more aware of how his words can have consequences. We see toward the end of the book that the kids on the playground shout “Let’s build a wall! The Mexicans are coming!” This is when Gabe steps in, takes a stand, and walks away from playing with the kids again.
I think this book would be great as a read aloud in the classroom so the classroom community can discuss the meaning of “ignorance”, “privilege”, and what does it mean to have a strong friendship.
About the Publisher
Sugarfree Books came about through the experience of its founder, Mark, as an educator and scholar working with children’s literature as a part of teacher education. He often heard prospective teachers (and parents for that matter) talk about children as innocent beings, and thought these imagined children were products of media archetypes and generalized
personal experience. However, he thinks kids are more complicated than that: they are capable of sophisticated thought and have the same capacity as adults for right and wrong, happiness and suffering. It’s not that the world is bitter, it’s that we don’t need to make it any sweeter than it is. Sugarfree is about children’s books without a candy coating. You can learn more at http://sugarfreebooks.com/ or https://www.facebook.com/SugarfreeBooks/?ref=page_internal
I love that the mission of this publishing company is to share children’s books with messages that are important and that need to be heard, minus the sugar coating. What is a middle grade book that you’ve read that has a tough topic and really hits home? Share with me below!