Monday, February 19, 2007

Think of the Children... Read With Them, or "Scrotum!"

I don't know if any of you had a chance to see yesterday, Sunday, February 18th's edition of the New York Times. There was an intersting article that really struck home with me. The newest Newberry Medal for children's literature has caused quite an uproar in library and education circles all because of one word: "scrotum." The Times, in a very serious tone, writes this about the whole affair.

It seems that childrens' librarians and teachers are upset, irked, and generally put out about the whole thing, well, at least some of them are.

The inclusion of the word has shocked some school librarians, who have pledged to ban the book from elementary schools and reopened the deabate about what constitutes acceptable content in childrens' books... the book has already been banned from school libraries in a handful of states in the south, west, and northeast
(bold faced, mine). Why? For a word?

I, being who I am, made quick for the shelves at the bookstore and plucked the book in question The Higher Power of Lucky down and commenced to read it immediately, and sure enough, right there on the first page is the offending word "scrotum." I think the word comes up a total of three of four times in the first chapter. Now, as most things that people rail against, the whole thing is taken out of context. Its part of a larger story that the main character, a girl named Lucky, here's while she evesdrops on a conversation going on in an Alcoholics Annonymous meeting.

Today, after work, I stopped by my local library and asked the children's librarian, who I know from one of my classes, if our library was going to carry it. She said they were. When I asked her why, not because I was challenging her, matter of fact, I was quite pleased that the library will be carrying it, she said that 9t was a Newberry Award winner and they carry Newberry Award winning books. I think her exact quote was something to the effect of "It's gotta have some merit to it, right?" And it does.

I haven't read the whole thing yet, but what I have read has been well written and should, if read by the parent and the child elicit some discussion on many a different topic.

Oh, there it is. That's why its being banned. Discussion. Yeah, there it is. Who wants to discuss what a "scrotum" is, or who wants to explain what a "guardian" for a child is, or who wants to talk about "alcoholics annonymous." There it is. That's the problem!

1 comment:

thirdworstpoetinthegalaxy said...

But, shesh, we certainly don't want kids to know what a "scrotum" is! Goodness.

I believe it's for this same reason that "Balzac" has been banned from most libraries.