It’s Friday again, but this time I’m going to change things up and not come at you with some weird randomness (or random weirdness). Instead, what I have is another “Happenstance” post for you on something that folks around might call “sensitive.” (Let’s see if I get censored again.)
Anyway, I’m taking a break from my workstation, taking a strolling among the shelves (I really find this very therapeutic) and this book caught my eye for two obvious reasons:
Wild things? Acts of mischief? Sold! (In all honesty, I consider myself a conservative and a traditionalist. But I guess I’m not honest enough with myself.)
Naturally, Wild Things: Acts of Mischief in Children’s Literature by Betsy Bird, Julie Danielson, and Peter D. Sieruta touches on all manners of controversy and interesting tidbits of information about children’s books, people’s reactions to these books, and also the multifaceted lives of the authors who wrote the books.
The section which I immediately flipped to was “Children and Adults: Two Ways of Reading.” Needless to say, the title already indicates what I personally feel about the recent “sensitive” events that beleaguered the Public Libraries and also the National Library Board as a whole. But ’nuff said. I’ll let the excerpt do the rest of the talking.
Why is it that adults and kids read books in such different ways? Is it because, as more sophisticated readers, adults have a better sense of subtext than children? Or is it rather that grown-ups – already nervous about how these books can subvert their upper hand by empowering children to question the status quo – approach each book with an already entrenched set of beliefs and prejudices? …
Whatever the case, books seem to draw out adults’ protective instincts in a way that other forms of media do not … [When} was the last time you saw a group of “concerned citizens” publicly burning burning DVDs or throwing their TV sets from rooftops? Yet let a children’s book contain a few scattered swear words … a bare behind … a gay penguin … and all he – er, H-E-double hockey sticks – breaks out, resulting in book challenges at public and school libraries, as well as calls for censorship and banning. It’s clear that, for many, books are dangerous things.
You see that, librarians everywhere? You work a job handling “dangerous things.” This thought alone should make your day, and your weekend as well.
Grab the “dangerous” book here; have a good one.