Saturday, September 26, 2009

The Little Books that Could...Despite All Attempts to Smoosh Them

Welcome to Banned Books Week at A Blurred History!

Each day of this week I'll be featuring a banned book (or a few) that shaped my own life and offer my two cents on the whys and wherefores of censorhip.

Today - Picture books!

It's still had for me to wrap my head around the idea that even picture books get banned - but considering that books written for children draw the most fire that makes picture books prime targets.

Two of my favorite banned picture books are:
Sendak's work made the list because of "nudity" in some illustrations. Sex and sexuality receive the most flak in terms of censorship, but even without going into that hornets' nest (don't worry, we'll get there later this week) nudity doesn't have to be about sex except for biological differentiation. We all have bodies and we should be comfortable in them.

Banned for "supernatural content." Witches can never catch a break. Not way back when, not today. I understand the source of anxiety about the occult but I've never been sympathetic to it. Not only because I love fantasy, but also - just as Harry Potter says Voldemort's name without fear - because not speaking about something gives it more power via ignorance and fear. Witch hunts always end badly, and not just for the witches. Oh wait - Harry Potter got banned too? Oops.


  1. Strega Nona? Unbelievable! How picky and ridiculous. That was absolutely one of my favorite books, mainly because of the magic pasta pot, since pasta is my weakness and always has been, even when I was a child. I always dreamed of having one of those - pasta in the blink of an eye! Mmmmm.....

    By the way, I love Professor Chaos, too!

  2. Nevine - Welcome! I am also in the market for a magic pasta pot, if you come across one let me know.

  3. I am so over witches being banned :)

  4. Andrea, I love this post! "Witches never catch a break" is a perfect line. I keep hoping that people will learn from past mistakes, but, no, they're still on witch hunts. And if they can't burn other people for being different, they'll settle for books.