Joy Masoff

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Joy Masoff (born 1951) is a textbook author. The Virginia public schools have approved 14 of her books, all of which are published by Five Ponds Press. She is also the author of children's books, including Fire!, Emergency,[1] Oh Yuck! The Encyclopedia of Everything Nasty,[2][3] and Oh Yikes! History's Grossest Moments.[3] Some of her works grew out of her work as a Cub Scout den leader and with Brownies.[1][4]

In October 2010, a historian Carol Sheriff, who is a professor at the College of William and Mary called into question Masoff's scholarship in writing a fourth grade textbook entitled, Our Virginia: Past and Present. Masoff wrote that thousands of slaves fought in the American Civil War on the side of the South, which is rejected by most historians. Masoff explained that Virginia state curriculum requires that the role of African-Americans in the war be covered, so she used the internet to research the topic and found three sources. However, all three sources traced back to the Sons of Confederate Veterans, who do not believe that slavery caused the Civil War. Masoff said, "It's just one sentence. I don't want to ruffle any feathers, If the historians had contacted me and asked me to take it out, I would have."[3]

On October 21, the publisher of Our Virginia: Our Past and Present announced that it will distribute sticker labels that can be used to cover the disputed paragraph.[5] Subsequently, another error was spotted regarding a claim that brown bears live in the Blue Ridge Mountains, when in fact only black bears inhabit that area.[6] The publisher has announced that both statements will be removed from the second edition of the book.[6]

School system reactions to the controversy have varied. the Loudoun County, Virginia, public schools have pulled Our Virginia: Past and Present from its classrooms, while neighboring Prince William County, although not currently using the book, has it and five other Five Pond Press books under consideration.[6]

Masoff is the mother of two and lives with her family in Waccabuc, New York.[4]


  • Masoff, Joy (2007). The all better now book. illustrated by Jack Dickason. New York: Lark Books. ISBN 978-1-60059-128-0. LCCN 2007021908.
  • Masoff, Joy (2000). American Revolution, 1700-1800. New York: Scholastic Reference. ISBN 0-439-05109-6. LCCN 99053695.
  • Masoff, Joy (2000). Colonial times, 1600-1700. New York: Scholastic Reference. LCCN 99056243.
  • Masoff, Joy (1999). Emergency!. New York: Scholastic. ISBN 0-590-97898-5. LCCN 97026995.
  • Masoff, Joy (2002). Everest : reaching for the sky. New York: Scholastic Reference. ISBN 0-439-26707-2. LCCN 2001020757.
  • Masoff, Joy (1998). Fire!. principal photography by Jack Resnicki and Barry D. Smith. New York: Scholastic Reference. ISBN 0-590-97872-1. LCCN 97010928.
  • Masoff, Joy (2002). Mali : land of gold & glory. Waccabuc, NY: Five Ponds Press. ISBN 0-9727156-0-6. LCCN 2003271444.
  • Masoff, Joy (2006). Oh, yikes! : history's grossest, wackiest moments. illustrated by Terry Sirrell. New York: Workman. ISBN 978-0-7611-3684-2. LCCN 2006045243.
  • Masoff, Joy (2000). Oh, yuck! : the encyclopedia of everything nasty. illustrated by Terry Sirrell. New York: Workman Pub. ISBN 0-7611-0771-1. LCCN 99043603.
  • Masoff, Joy (2002). Snowboard! : your guide to freeriding, pipe & park, jibbing, backcountry, alpine, boardercross, and more. illustrations by Jack Dickason. Washington, D. C.: National Geographic Society. ISBN 0-7922-6740-0. LCCN 2001044392.


  1. ^ a b Greene, Donna (June 6, 1999). "Q&A/Joy Masoff; Children's Books About Heroic Life Savers". New York Times.
  2. ^ Parker-Pope, Tara (December 20, 2006). "Health books worth space on your shelf". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Retrieved 2010-10-22.
  3. ^ a b c Seiff, Kevin (October 20, 2010). "In Va., an old front reemerges in battles over Civil War history". Washington Post. p. A1. Retrieved 2010-12-29. The author, Joy Masoff, who is not a trained historian but has written several books, said she found the information about black Confederate soldiers primarily through Internet research, which turned up work by members of the Sons of Confederate Veterans. The Sons of Confederate Veterans, a group of male descendants of Confederate soldiers based in Columbia, Tenn., has long maintained that substantial numbers of black soldiers fought for the South The group's historian-in-chief, Charles Kelly Barrow, has written the book "Black Confederates."
  4. ^ a b "Joy Masoff: Workman Publishing". Workman Publishing. Retrieved 2010-10-20.
  5. ^ Sieff, Kevin (October 22, 2010). "No expert reviewed disputed Va. text". Washington Post. p. B1. Retrieved 2010-12-29.
  6. ^ a b c Seiff, Kevin (October 23, 2010). "Loudoun suspends disputed textbook". Washington Post. p. B4.