29 September 2010

Banned Book Week: In the Night Kitchen

In the Night Kitchen by Maurice Sendak.  ISBN: 9780060254902.

Oh no, this book is so dangerous.  It shows a little naked boy.  And we are talking little.  This kid looks like he's maybe 3 tops.  And yeah, there's full frontal, but it's not like he's hip thrusting throughout the book, no one is looking at the penis in the book, and no one is touching it.  When I was a kid I barely even noticed the penis.  Then again I grew up with a twin brother and it wasn't until after I was five that I had my own bedroom, so I pretty much knew what naked little boys looked like and never would have thought it was a big deal to see it in a book.  I wasn't abused or anything, but naked just seems to happen with young children.

And you know what, I would rather that my daughter see her first penis in a book, even at the age of two or three or four than to have her first experience be a potentially degrading, "playing doctor" with an older neighborhood boy or an "I'll show you mine if you show me yours" incident.  And trust me, little boys will not be shocked about their own gender's nudity on the page.

What good does it do to instill shame about naked bodies to children?  Especially their own?  It prevents them from being able to talk about their bodies with you.  God forbid that anyone's child be touched inappropriately or molested as these are things that are hard enough to talk about, but adding the stigma that their bodies are dirty or shameful to begin with just increases the chance that they will not tell you if this happens.

Maybe some people are comfortable with idea of knowing they will never have to hear their child say, "Uncle Billy touched me," but I would rather know than to continue to allow Uncle Billy or any other sick bastard anywhere near my child.  If that means my child gets to look at line drawings of a naked three-year-old, I am more than okay with that.  And hopefully in the meantime that child will enjoy the story of Mickey and his adventures In the Night Kitchen.

Because penis is always bad.


  1. All great points. I've heard that people draw diapers over him in library books in certain places.

  2. It's true, I haven't see it in action myself, but I've heard enough stories to know it happens. Just like the amazing and disgusting things people leave in drop boxes. Sometimes I wish librarians were more hardcore about filing charges for defacing government property...


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