September 28, 2008

Banned Books Week: In the Night Kitchen

Every year that The Chocolate War is still on some school's banned list kind of gives me a headache. I always wonder if anyone has actually read the book -- really read it. How can they get upset? But, it's a perennial "favorite," and so it stays.

I paged through a picture book only last summer when I was weeding through my Mom's classroom library, and read The Night Kitchen through again for old time's sakes. A weird dream a child has, hearing strange noises and falling through space, falling out of his pajamas and into a cake... I couldn't imagine why it could be banned. And then I read -- for nudity. Really!? Oh, yeah. Mickey falls out of his pajamas.

...I won't bother telling you how many dreams I've had when I've been undressed. Or halfway undressed. Or dressed in strips of carpet. Our unconscious minds are surreal places, but the point of the book is about what's in the dark -- and how to cope with it.

Banning a book misses the point of a story. Celebrate your right to read!

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