It's Banned Books Week!
Two years ago, I celebrated with Jacqui Reads Her Children Books That Other People Think Are Bad For Them. Last year I read them Even More Books That Other People Think Are Bad For Them. We've read a ton of terrible, child-harming evil, and yet, miraculously, my children's moral fiber remains frustratingly intact. So THIS year, I decided to condense the exposure AND to hit them with the biggies. I present to you:
Jacqui Reads Her Children Books That Are SURE to RUIN Them FOREVER
We started this weekend with these:
Heather Has Two Mommies
by Lesléa Newman, illus. Diana Souza
by Michael Willhoite
Nothing subtle there, eh? My kids were sure to be doomed.
We ran into trouble immediately. Destructo couldn't have cared less how many mommies Heather had. He was mainly worried that on the cover of her book, it looks like Heather is about to be EATEN BY A WOLF.*
Heather's story is very straightforward. Two is her favorite number; she has two hands, two eyes, and two mommies, both of whom she loves best. When Heather starts a playgroup, though, the kids talk about their daddies. Heather doesn't have a daddy and gets sad until the other kids in the class talk about how all their families are different and the teacher delivers a speech on love.
This is an important book, and a very lovey and reassuring book. It is not subtle though, and not particularly informative for modern kids with 21st century mindsets. BUT it becomes VERY interesting, terrifying even, if you think Heather's pet dog is a CHILD-EATING WOLF.
Punchy, but undeterred, we moved on to Daddy's Roommate. In the book, a little boy's parents are divorced and his dad has moved in with another man. The book is all about the fun the boy has with Daddy and his roommate.
First, check out that fantastic mustache! Thor had total facial hair envy.
Second, regardless of your politics, you have to respect an author who isn't afraid to speak his true thoughts on his book (and his whole lifestyle) being challenged.
But to the actual story. This book does not beat around the bush. It has illustrations of the men hugging in bed, it talks about their love for each other, it says they sleep together. As I read, I was thinking how red in the face Daddy's Roommate must make closed-minded book haters. But then Tink spoke up, on the page where they're at the beach.
"I know why some people think we shouldn't read this book," she said, pointing to the picture of Daddy's roommate in a Speedo-style bathing suit. "He's almost naked!"
Hmm. Later, she decided that what the book-banners didn't like must be the picture of the men wearing Red Sox hats. Because nobody should cheer for the Red Sox, I guess.
In the next episode: Underwear, the Sex Pistols, and Tink on Roald Dahl. Stay tuned.
* This is not to knock Ms. Souza; the illustrations within are cute. But you can see why he thought that.