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18 February 2007 @ 11:46 am
Carpe Scrotum  
An article in The New York Times reports on the uproar surrounding the 2007 Newbery Medal winner,
The Higher Power of Lucky. What could be so alarming, you ask? From the article:

"The word “scrotum” does not often appear in polite conversation. Or children’s literature, for that matter.

Yet there it is on the first page of “The Higher Power of Lucky,” by Susan Patron, this year’s winner of the Newbery Medal, the most prestigious award in children’s literature. The book’s heroine, a scrappy 10-year-old orphan named Lucky Trimble, hears the word through a hole in a wall when another character says he saw a rattlesnake bite his dog, Roy, on the scrotum...

...The inclusion of the word has shocked some school librarians, who have pledged to ban the book from elementary schools, and reopened the debate over what constitutes acceptable content in children’s books."

The author's response at Publisher's Weekly reflects my own feelings:

"I was shocked and horrified to read that some school librarians, teachers, and media specialists are choosing not to include the 2007 Newbery Medal winner in their collections because they fear parental objections to the word scrotum, or because they are uncomfortable with the word themselves. If I were a parent of a middle-grade child, I would want to make decisions about my child's reading myself—I'd be appalled that my school librarian had decided to take on the role of censor and deny my child access to a major award-winning book. And if I were a 10-year-old and learned that adults were worried that the current Newbery book was not appropriate for me, I'd figure out a way to get my mitts on it anyway, its allure intensified by the exciting forbidden-ness—by the unexpressed but obvious fear on the part of these adults."

Other folks' comments (wherein I gleaned the subject line of my post) here and here. The great majority support the author, but then that may be in some small part due to the nature of the sites I'm looking at.

I'm about to dash out to a family gathering. More of my own musings to follow.
I feel: aggravatedaggravated
Blaidd Drwgfairyrune on February 18th, 2007 07:36 pm (UTC)
I got REALLY angry when I read about that. It's just a body part, people! The word isn't even used in a remotely sexual context in the book. Besides, the kids are going have to learn the proper names for things at some point! Better sooner than later, I say.