Sunday, February 18, 2007

A Tempest In A Teabag

Current mood: plainspoken

Category: News and Politics

From the New York Times Online:

February 18, 2007

With One Word, Children's Book Sets Off Uproar

By Julie Bosman

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. The book's heroine, a scrappy 10-year-old orphan named Lucky Trimble, hears the word through a hole in a wall when another character says he saw a rattlesnake bite his dog, Roy, on the scrotum.

"Scrotum sounded to Lucky like something green that comes up when you have the flu and cough too much," the book continues. "It sounded medical and secret, but also important."

The inclusion of the word has shocked some school librarians, who have pledged to ban the book from elementary schools, and reopened the debate over what constitutes acceptable content in children's books. The controversy was first reported by Publishers Weekly, a trade magazine.


I agree it was a poor choice of words. Nut-sack, which doesn't sound medical or secret or important, gets my vote.