A FEW OTHER EVENTS FOR
- Happy birthday Marissa Moss (Ameliaâ€™s Notebook).
- Itâ€™s the birth date of Stan Berenstain (1923-2005), Berenstain Bears series.
- In 1916 John D. Rockefeller became the worldâ€™s first billionaire. Read John D. Rockefeller: Oil Baron and Philanthropist by Rosemary Laughlin.
- Itâ€™s National Attend Your Grandchildâ€™s Birth Day. Read Zero Grandparents by Michelle Edwards and Grandparents Song by Sheila Hamanaka.
- Itâ€™s also National Coffee Day. Read The Bug in the Teacherâ€™s Coffee and Other School Poems by Kalli Dakos, illustrated by Mike Reed, and All Because of a Cup of Coffee by Geronimo Stilton.
I live in a highly literate, educated, and politically centrist town in Massachusetts. While others have been cutting school money, Westwood recently passed a tax override for a new library. The childrenâ€™s staff here has to be one of the best I have ever seen in action, responsive to teachers and parents. For me personally, they have provided amazing support for my books over the years.
In the last fifteen years, only one childrenâ€™s book has officially ever been challenged in my town: our book of the day, Robie H. Harrisâ€™s Itâ€™s Perfectly Normal. Even though the sticker on the second edition boldly says â€śfor age 10 and up,â€ť books about sex for young people bring out the censors, even in towns like Westwood, MA. For the forthcoming Banned Books Week, I’d like to take a look at this title that has been challenged frequently since publication.
But if you want a book that answers young peopleâ€™s questions about sex, no better book has been written. Harris has been a passionate advocate for providing children with the information they need as they go through lifeâ€™s difficult passages. Although I absolutely loved the first edition of this book in 1994 and was proud to give it a Boston Globeâ€“Horn Book Award, I think the tenth anniversary edition is even better. The author has updated some of the information of AIDS and STDs, making it even more important for young people to have this book in their hands.
Michael Emberleyâ€™s artwork includes the dialogue between a bird and a bee: the bird wants to know more, and the bee is less than eager for information. Emberleyâ€™s art brings humor to the subject, and he illustrates many of the points with rotund, certainly less than perfect, bodies. So not only can young readers savor the text, they can laugh as they do soâ€”certainly a great gift in this subject area.
James Thurber asked â€śIs Sex Necessary?â€ť but he did so as a much older man. For the young it can become an obsession. Itâ€™s Perfectly Normal is just the book for themâ€”gentle, nonjudgmental, funny, and engaging.
So to First Amendment advocate and my old friend, Robie Harris, a nod in appreciation and in recognition of how she has spent the last two decades of her life. Children need information, all kinds of information, and Robie has worked tirelessly to make sure that subjects like sex and childbirth get communicated to the young in a clear way. This goal has landed her work on the banned books lists, year after yearâ€”but she has made it possible for children to live better lives, because they have the information that they need.
Hereâ€™s a passage from Itâ€™s Perfectly Normal:
Originally posted September 29, 2011. Updated for .