Lots more scrotums

>> Wednesday, February 21, 2007

From Gelf Magazine, a list of youth books that make mention of scrotums. According to librarian Dana Nilsson of Sunnyside Elementary in Durango, Colorado, these novels - including James Herriot's All Creatures Great and Small - don't qualify as "quality literature" for children.

Fav author Neil Gaiman has also weighed in on his blog, stripping such dark Jedi of their librarian badges. Says he:

I've decided that librarians who would decline to have a Newbery book in their libraries because they don't like the word scrotum are probably not real librarians (whom I still love unconditionally). I think they're rogue librarians who have gone over to the dark side.

And there was a nice editorial in the New York Times about the flap. The link will probably require subscription after a day or so, but here's a couple of good graphs:

Speaking of Balzac, it seems a good time to remember that discomfort about words isn’t the fault of the words or of the authors who use them. And that plain old uncynical, workmanlike common nouns lose their naughty aura through unembarrassed use. The alternative — silent ignorance or the baby-talk slang that children acquire as surely as strep and ear infections — seems far less healthy.

With every generation, a new cohort of children begins the journey from ignorance to knowledge. Librarians help those children get there. Some barely make it, and end up toting ignorance as baggage, a sniggering puerility about body parts and functions. Those are the ones who will be drawn to shock radio — not children like the thoughtful, dauntless Lucky Trimble and those lucky enough to have read her book.

Hear, hear.


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