Musings on children's and YA literature, the academy, and the relationship between them, from an English professor and mother.

Monday, February 19, 2007

libraries, censorship, and the Newbery

You already know about The Higher Power of Lucky and how it uses a big bad word on page one, thereby sneaking nastiness into the minds of impressionable youth. So all I'm doing here is pointing you to some of the best responses to the kerfuffle.

Here's the NYTimes' silly report on it.

Roger Sutton notes that parents aren't always the best folks to monitor kids' reading.

Scott Westerfield is sorry he wasn't informed of the scrotum-sneaking children’s literature conspiracies.

Justine Larbalestier is sceptical of the claim that children's authors are trying to offend us.

Monica Edinger gives us a teacher's viewpoint on what kinds of things are hard to read aloud, and why.

J.L. Bell feels lucky, and has a lot more links.

And, for the record, the librarian quoted at the end of the NYTimes piece as saying that “But you won’t find men’s genitalia in quality literature . . . At least not for children” saves herself a tiny bit with that final qualification, but still misses the boat: the genitalia in question belong to a dog.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for the interesting post.

    It strains credulity to think that some are offended by what seems to me a great way to draw a young reader into a story. But I'm also bothered by those who seem to complacently assume that no book could possibly be offensive. Of course children's book authors sometimes set out to offend or shake up or rile or bother or titillate, often for very good reasons. But there are children's books that I find without merit or even offensive -- to deny the possibility is to deny the power of literature. Just as a book can be a powerful force for good, it can push in the other direction. But it is much too hard for a news story to deal with real issues and tough questions like the value of a piece of literature - as we see here, they can't even do a good job of reporting on the use of the word "scrotum".

    my blog: ReaderThinker