Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Banning the Bible and The Little Mermaid

The "The Ugly Duckling" Could Be Next!

Today is International Children's Book Day. It's a day that librarians and teachers embrace, but school boards detest. Why? It just means extra work and unwanted publicity - banning children's books is a nasty affair. If the school board is too hideabound and slow (like Tennessee's state government- see side bar), it winds up looking ridiculous. Books by Mark Twain, Dr. Seuss, Jack London, Judy Blume, Maurice Sendak, Shel Silverstein and (of course) JK Rowling have been detested (and contested) by minds that have obviously never enountered the joy of childhood reading.

Then there's guilt by association - actually, guilt by authorship. Oscar Wilde wrote fairy tales, so naturally his books could never be seen in a children's library. And Hans Christian Andersen was a homosexual whose life mirrored "The Ugly Duckling." And since King James I of England was bisexual, those "King James Version Only" advocates look pretty suspicious.*

Book banning in any form is a crime. With children's books, however, it's partiularly pernicious.

"In the first place God made idiots. This was for practice. Then He made School Boards." - Mark Twain

Reading to an ugly duckling

* There has been a "distancing" of some fundamentalists from the KJV recently - the ones who've actually studied history. They take to heart the adage the Elizabethans coined on the death of Elizabeth: "Elizabeth was king - now James will be Queen."

No comments: