Italian-American advocates are calling for School Chancellor Carmen Farina of NYC to ban certain book series they believe perpetuate negative stereotypes by lionizing gangster Al Capone.
Books such as the "Tales from Alcatraz" novels written by Gennifer Choldenko are: Al Capone Does My Shirts, Alcapone Shines My Shoes, and Al Capone Does My Homework. Capone was a prisoner at Alcatraz from 1935 to 1939 and was an infamous inmate, indeed.
John Fratta, chairman of the Italian-American Action Network wrote ti Farina in a March, 2015 letter:
Italian-Americans remain the last ethnic group in New York that is acceptable to negatively stereotype.
He is now going public after the chancellor (he believes) brushed him off. The Department of Education confirmed they have some of Choldenko's books in their libraries.
Al Capone Does My Shirts won the Newbery Award and other awards as well.
This blogger/author believes, as do many authors and educators, that diversity should be and is a hallmark of the US education experience. As such, these types of books for children should not be removed from schools but need to be a focus of our historical heritage, rich and varied as it is.