Archive for February, 2007

February 18, 2007

You Won’t Find Men’s Genitalia in Quality Literature

Nor will you find it in the Newbery Award winning novel, The Higher Power of Lucky. And yet, a New York Times article on the “controversy” over the word scrotum in that book ends with that pithy, but wrong (in several ways) quote from a librarian in Colorado. This librarian also compares Susan Patron to Howard Stern for her use of the word.

The article also contains this curious statement, apparently from the reporter, as it is unattributed:

Authors of children’s books sometimes sneak in a single touchy word or paragraph, leaving librarians to choose whether to ban an entire book over one offending phrase.

Yes. That’s exactly how it happens. We sit there at our computers, looking for places to sneak in those touchy words, just so we can shock shock! unsuspecting librarians.

Elsewhere in the article, another librarian offers his belief that the flap is a “case of an author not realizing her audience.” If by audience he means prudish, censorious adults who are afraid of uttering the accurate, non-sexualized term for a part of a male dog’s anatomy in front of nine- and ten-year-old children, half of whom share this anatomical feature with the canine in question, then I suppose he has a point.

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February 12, 2007

Hoo-Haa Brou-ha-ha

Personally, I’ve never heard the vagina referred to as the Hoo-Haa. Maybe it’s a regional thing?

A theater manager in Atlantic Beach, Florida decided, after a motorist complained to a local television station that her niece SAW THE WORD VAGINA on the theater’s marquee, that Eve Ensler’s play needed to be euphemized. And so they re-named it “The Hoo-Haa Monologues.”

Yeah, well. It turns out the organizers of this production are law students and their right to perform the play is contingent on their not changing a thing and so those H’s O’s and A’s came down.

I read this in today’s New York Times, and my curious eight-year-old wanted to know what I was laughing about. And so I first had to tell her about the original name, at which she scrunched up her face and said, “Ew.” She thought Hoo-Haa was pretty funny.

I decided now wasn’t the time to tell her the cute story of how, when she was three and we had friends over, she came bounding out of her room, naked, asking “Who wants to see my ‘gina?” (And I probably won’t leave this part of this blog entry up for long.)

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February 3, 2007

New Cover!

Now I too have a torso.

Paperback in stores May 17th.

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February 1, 2007

Reading and Writing the Young Adult Novel

That’s the title of the class I’m teaching at Saint Mary’s this January. I have a mix of undergrad and graduate students with whom I’ll be reading a selection of classic and contemporary YA. On our list: Catcher in the Rye, King Dork (with a special appearance by Frank Portman), Forever, Good Girls (special appearance by Laura Ruby), Doing It, The Chocolate War, The Insiders, Rats Saw God, Speak, and The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants (with special appearance by Ann Brashares).

In addition to writing exercises, students will plan their own YA novels and produce 25 pages by the end of the four weeks.

It’s going to be a fun month.

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