Monday, September 26, 2011

The Night Kitchen in the light of day: Happy Banned Books Week

A child in the target age group for most picture books puts beloved Where the Wild Things Are back on the library shelf and picks the book next to it: In the Night Kitchen. I read it to her and she's not especially into it, which is her prerogative, but she enjoys Mickey's similarity to Max. At one point in the reading, she giggles a little. "He's dirty," she says. On the page in question, Mickey is covered in cake batter.

The full-frontal male nudity gets no reaction.

There's plenty to say about censorship of young people's reading material, and it's a discussion worth having. But often, I think the debate can be more about adult politics than about the children and teens both sides are trying or ostensibly trying to defend. The human body is old news to kids who've had help getting dressed, and I suspect that many of the other issues that come up in censorship debates are fairly dull to kids (though in some cases, that may be less true as they get older). Arguments often arise over one potentially objectionable scene, one image, even one word. It takes more ink than that to make a story, and it takes a good story to hold a reader's interest. "Once upon a time there was a scandal" may not cut it.

Happy Banned Books Week. Go read what you feel like reading.

ETA: But first, learn to protect yourself! Thanks to Fuse #8 for the link.


  1. Also there's that whole holocaust reference thing:

  2. In the Night Kitchen is a good book, however you musdt be focus to understand what it is really about, because you could take a wrong message from book.