Banned Books Week: We must protect the children from communism, nudity, and talking animals

Children’s and young adult’s books are often the most banned and challenged. I can understand a parent’s desire to protect her children from everything negative in the universe, I really can. I’m a parent and I certainly don’t want my daughter to be exposed to all of the atrocities of the world.

But while I don’t want my daughter to see the bad, I know that needs to see it. Raising her in a sheltered atmosphere is not going to do her any favors. And if I do choose to keep my daughter from seeing something, I certainly don’t believe that other parents should have to follow in my footsteps.

That is exactly what book banning is all about . . . one person or one group trying to force their values and opinions on a larger community. And it’s bullshit.

And often times, it’s just outright ill-informed . . . Just check out my first book for today —-

Brown Bear, Brown Bear What Do You See? by Bill Martin, Jr.
If you have a child, odds are you have read “Brown Bear, Brown Bear What Do You See?” and you are probably thinking to yourself, “Huh? Why in the world would they ban that book?” Well, really it had nothing to do with the book.

For those who have not read the book, here’s a reading on YouTube:


So what made Pat Hardy, a member of the Texas State Board of Education ban this delightfully repetitive book for toddlers? It was the author.

Well, not really.

See, Bill Martin is a philosophy professor at DePaul University. He wrote the book “Ethical Marxism: The Categorical Imperative of Liberation.”

Bill Martin, Jr. wrote the delightfully repetitive book for toddlers titled, “Brown Bear, Brown Bear What Do You See?”

No, Bill Martin, Jr. is not Bill Martin the philosophy professor’s son. In fact, there is no relation between them.

But Ms. Hardy must have missed that because she banned “Brown Bear, Brown Bear What Do You See?” because the author’s books contain “very strong critiques of capitalism and the American system.”

Bill Martin (the philosophy professor) takes it as a compliment.

In the Night Kitchen by Maurice Sendak
I’ll admit that “In the Night Kitchen” is not my favorite Maurice Sendak book and that I find the whole idea of trying to bake a little boy in a cake to be rather creepy, but certainly not as much as “I Love You Forever” which has a woman breaking into her grown son’s house to rock him in his sleep.

Anyway, I digress . . . so “In the Night Kitchen” is not my favorite children’s book. Still, the fact that it’s banned is pretty ridiculous. It’s about one little boy’s dream about the downstairs’ noises. He dreams that they are coming from the “Night Kitchen” and that he falls through the night into that “Night Kitchen”.

The book has been challenged and banned, of course, because it contains nudity.

That’s not made up. It really does contain a bit of nudity. A little cartoon boy who dreams that as he falls through the night also falls out of his clothes and into some cake batter. It’s wacky . . . but it’s a dream. Aren’t all dreams wacky?

This is one of those cases, as far as I’m concerned, of parents making more out of something than children will even notice. I remember reading the book as a child. I didn’t remember Mickey being naked. I remembered him flying in a doughy airplane though.

I like Epinions.com’s review of the book:

Pros – Facing childhood fears, simple story, fascinating illustrations, surreal dream world
Cons – Nudity might offend adult readers, not young children

Winnie the Pooh by A.A. Milne
I was completely unaware of this a few days ago (thank you, Chris). I racked my brain trying to figure out why my beloved Pooh Bear was banned. As it turns out, it’s been banned and challenged in a few places for a few different reasons.

“Winnie the Pooh”, along with “Charlotte’s Web” and “The Three Little Pigs”, was banned in the UK because the depiction of Piglet could possibly offend Muslim students and their parents. It was banned in Turkey for similar reasons. And in Russia because a Nazi was found in possession of a Pooh Bear, so naturally, Winnie the Pooh must be associated with Nazism.

And parents’ groups in the US have challenged or banned “Winnie the Pooh” because the talking animals are an “insult to God”.

Yeah, you read that right.

“Winnie the Pooh” is a children’s book series written by A.A. Milne for his son . . . none other than Christopher Robin (sorry to the little ones today . . . Darby was not a real person). Check out this site for further details about the origin of “Winnie the Pooh”.

Advertisements

12 responses to this post.

  1. lol People actually wanted to ban Winnie the Pooh! How ridiculous! Especially for the reason about talking animals being an insult to God. lol

    I’ve never heard of the other two books, but the reasons that you gave about why people wanted to ban them are absurd so silly! It is hard to believe that people actually think this way. I am finding this all very interesting, Dayle. I’m glad that you are doing this series. 🙂

    Reply

    • It’s ridiculous, isn’t it?

      I’m so glad you’re enjoying the posts! I’ve had this in my head to do since I first started blogging. I was about to write a post on banned books and I started to do some research. As soon as I saw that the last week of September was Banned Books Week, I knew I wanted to hold off. Of course, I still waiting until the last minute to do more research . . . I am highly skilled in the art of procrastination 😛

      Reply

  2. No book has been banned in the USA for about half a century. Fanny Hill got that honor a long time ago. Challenged books in schools that are removed is different from banning. Setting aside that Banned Books Week is propaganda, the creator of BBW said:

    “On rare occasion, we have situations where a piece of material is not what it appears to be on the surface and the material is totally inappropriate for a school library. In that case, yes, it is appropriate to remove materials. If it doesn’t fit your material selection policy, get it out of there.”

    See: “Banned Books Week Propaganda Exposed by Progressive Librarian Rory Litwin; ALA Censors Out Criticism of Its Own Actions in a Manner Dishonest to the Core.”

    Reply

    • In my first post of this series (yesterday’s), I wrote that “banned books in this country typically refers to challenged books or books that have been banned from a location or two (or sometimes several).” So, I do understand part of your point.

      However, if you think that Brown Bear, In the Night Kitchen or Winnie the Pooh have been appropriately removed, I have to adamantly disagree. The problem occurs when a certain group of people try to force their ideals on everyone else. Removing ANY book from a public library is wrong and removing books from public schools because an author of the same name writes about “anti-American” topics (whatever the hell that is considering the last I checked, our first amendment gives us the freedom of speech and the freedom of press) is completely ludicrous. And by the way, that wasn’t 50 years ago. It was last year and the book is still unavailable in the public schools of Texas.

      Reply

  3. 1)Brown Bear, Brown Bear….My Mom used to be a Preschool and daycare teacher at different times in her life. This is one of the ones she took and made a flip book of…using poster board paper, the pictures and those metal loops(not sure what you call them), so that she could hold it up and flip through it for the kids…and it lasted longer. As a result, I have read and heard this book MANY times and there is absolutely nothing bad about it at all….Ridiculous that someone would challenge just because of the same name and totally unfair to the guy with almost the same name as the professor….
    2)Never heard of The Night Kitchen book but it doesn’t seem that big of a deal to me…it’s a cartoon picture and it’s not all big and in your face with the nudity….This reminds me of how people bring up the little hidden pictures and things about Disney movies trying to make them look bad. Funny enough, the only people I have ever heard find the stuff in the movies and say anything was adults…Kids aren’t picking up or noticing anything like that. Some adults obviously just have too much free time and start overthinking every little thing…..
    I really love “Love you Forever”….it’s such a sweet idea…never really considered the creepiness, but I guess that may be cause I haven’t read it in such a long time. I think we have to remember as adults that our brains are formed more than kids, we have more life experience, so we are going to notice things they don’t and can some times make more of an issue about them than really needs to be made….
    3)Winnie the Pooh…seriously????I grew up watching this and reading it….my parents never had any problems and I had never heard an issue made until I read about this…An insult to God? Who are these crazy EXTREMIST Christians that said this, because they are really insane, if you ask me…..It’s a cartoon for heaven’s sake!!! It’s meant to entertain kids…they should really not make that big of a deal about it….
    Sorry for leaving such a long comment…

    Reply

    • I love long comments, so it’s totally cool! (There I go with “totally” again . . . I think I need more sleep or something :P)

      Funny . . . I was going to bring up the Disney thing. Who could possibly be offended by a toddler’s penis is just beyond me! First off, any little boys reading the books have seen one . . . and if any girls have a little brother, they’ve probably seen one too!

      The Brown Bear thing is almost funny . . . makes me want to smack the woman upside her head!

      And yeah, Pooh Bear is an insult to God. My very Catholic aunt has a Winnie the Pooh obsession . . . and I mean, obsession . . . she has Winnie the Pooh sheets, clocks, snow globes, cookie jars, watches, shirts, hats, socks, figures, book ends, and on and on and on! Maybe I should tell her that she’s insulting God 😛

      Reply

    • Oh, and I read “I Love You Forever” in college (my teaching literature course) and it just creeped me out right away! I totally get that kids are most likely not creeped out by it (kind of like “In the Night Kitchen”) and it goes to further my point a bit . . . . just because *I* think it’s creepy, doesn’t mean other kids and their parents shouldn’t have access to it!

      Reply

  4. Thank you! First off, I’m completely with you about Banned Book Week. I actually love it because it brings to light books that WERE banned and books that ARE challenged. Honestly, anything that brings more books to the attention of the population in general is a wonderful thing. Books *are* dangerous…they teach you to think for yourself.

    AND thank you for listing “I Love You Forever.” I couldn’t remember the title of that book for the life of me. I did not read it as a child…but I was subjected to it at a friend’s funeral, where his mother read it. Yep, his mother. He was around 30 when he passed. I had to suppress both shock and laughter as the story progressed…and immediately after the funeral, referred to it as “My Mother the Stalker.”

    Reply

    • “Honestly, anything that brings more books to the attention of the population in general is a wonderful thing.”

      Exactly!!

      I’m definitely going to start calling “I Love You Forever” – “My Mother the Stalker”!!! The book has been a long standing debate with me and some of my mommy friends 😛

      Reply

  5. […] Brown Bear, Brown Bear What Do You See, In the Night Kitchen and Winnie the Pooh […]

    Reply

  6. […] Because talking animals are unholy and “an insult to God,” according to certain parents’ groups in the US. Similarly, Turkey […]

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: