The Lunar New Year
Tuesday Side Dishes 2.20.07

"The Word" in Newbery Winner Is Front Page News

The  Newbery-winning novel The Higher Power of Lucky made the front page of the New York Times today, but not as part of a book review. In an article mentioning censorship, banning, and shocked librarians, Julie Bosman reports,

The word “scrotum” does not often appear in polite conversation. Or children’s literature, for that matter.

Yet there it is on the first page of “The Higher Power of Lucky,” by Susan Patron, this year’s winner of the Newbery Medal, the most prestigious award in children’s literature.

As Bosman acknowledges, the reaction to "the word" has been a hot topic on the list-servs and blogs for a few weeks. AOL picked up the Times story as the lead news item on its home page, ensuring that an already-large audience for the article will be huge. I predict that NPR and the weekly news magazines jump on the bandwagon, too.

The Higher Power of Lucky is #4 on the Times' children's chapter book bestseller list, and one week ago Julie Just critiqued the book in a New York Times Book Review blurb, without noting any canine body parts,

This is the kind of novel where a smart 10-year-old can run away from home into a dangerous dust storm, lugging her dead mother’s ashes and wearing a red silk dress. Still, Lucky’s story has its charm, along with (naturally) an upbeat ending.

Among the bloggers weighing in on the Times' coverage of the controversy are the Horn Book's Roger Sutton, teacher and author Monica Edinger, and the group at As If! Authors Support Intellectual Freedom.


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I put in my 2 cents from the teacher perspective at A Year of Reading.

You were right, here is the NPR link:

I also have my opinions as a school librarian up at - what a week for me to start a blog about school libraries- lol!

Thanks for that link, Kathy. NPR often water skis off the New York Times' boat, so I am not surprised.

And welcome to blog-land. You're right--what a week!

When I started my blog in 2005, it wasn't long before there was a brouhaha over "King & King" in Oklahoma with the legislature getting involved and everything.

I missed the "King & King" fuss! Must go look it up. The NY Times's slant on this kind of bugged me--I didn't go into it in my post, but I wish they'd focused a bit more on librarians who *weren't* planning to ban the book despite potential controversy. I understand that isn't newsworthy in the same way, but still--almost all the school librarians I know are much more staunch in their/our defense of intellectual freedom than the bunch quoted in the Times.

I have posted about the book here. I know librarians who will hesitate to put it in the library

As my husband put it, someone needs to write The Scrotum Monologues, the play.

Thanks for the links. I'm going to go read further . . . I've been avoiding reading them lately; so depressing!

Jules, absolutely on the Monologues.

The whole thing is depressing, I agree.

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