Thursday, February 15, 2007

Psst! Wanna Know What "Scrotum" Means?

Apparently, 10 year old children aren't mature enough to learn the names of body parts. There's an online brouhaha in the world of librarians over the Newberry Award-winning book "The Higher Power Of Lucky" by Susan Patron. Why? Because the book uses the word "scrotum." (On the first page, a boy tells how his dog was bitten on the s-c-r-o-t-u-m and our young heroine begins her long quest to learn the names of body parts and what they mean. Others object to the fact that she sometimes eavesdrops on 12-step-programs in town.) Some librarians are simply choosing not to stock it, even though a Newberry winning book (just about the highest award in kid lit) should be an automatic buy. Some are offended, some say they could never read it out loud to groups of kids and some say they just don't want the headache of dealing with complaints from parents. (In other words, in a world where some parents object to "The Wizard Of Oz" and Harry Potter and "Alice In Wonderland" being on bookshelves in local libraries, they'd rather just NOT stock a book then have to deal with a minority that objects.) You know where I stand: any parent wwho wants to can ban their kid from checking out ANY BOOK they object to any time they want. Every local library in the country will tend to support this, down to the simple act of not letting the kid get a library card so their parents must come in with them. Parents should be responsible for watching what their kids read, not some librarian who couldn't possibly reflect the attitudes and feelings of an entire community. And of course NO parent should be able to block OTHER kids from reading books. That's none of their business. And a Newberry Award-winning book should be an automatic buy for every library in the country. Period.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

AMEN! I am a library science graduate student and I'm baffled that (a minority of) librarians would even consider NOT stocking this book. Our role is definitely not to be in loco parentis, no, we must champion and provide access to all forms of creativity and information. If parents don't want lil' Jimmy reading an award-winning children's book, well, the onus is on them to snatch the book away. They could instead plug Jimmy into a violent video game!