Skip to content

Reflections of a working writer and reader



The Mutt’s Nuts

The current censorship debate is, as usual, fuelled mainly by people who haven’t read the book – The Higher Power of Lucky by Susan Patron – and have no intention of reading it.

Dana Nilsson, for example, a teacher and librarian from Durango, Colorado, does not seem to have noticed that the objectionable word in the book – scrotum – applies to the anatomy of a dog. “I don’t want to start an issue about censorship,” she writes. “But you won’t find men’s genitalia in quality literature . . . At least not for children.

The book, which won this year’s Newbery Medal, America’s highest honour for children’s literature, has prompted America’s conservative educationalists and librarians to express their objections and, in some cases, to remove it from their shelves or refuse to stock it.

The author of the book, Susan Patron, is also a librarian. You can read her own response to the debate at

Dave Quayle, who pointed me to the above article, comments, noting different attitudes in the UK and the USA: “I suspect every children’s librarian I’ve ever known (and I married one) will welcome it.

3 Responses to “The Mutt’s Nuts”

  1. Lee says:

    A terrific post title, one of your best, surely! I made do with ‘scrotum’.

    jb says: One tries, Lee . . .

  2. Pearl says:

    whimper. Censorship will stop if we can force-feed books instead of having people run from ideas, right?

    another quiz if you like, on forensics.

    jb says: Hi Pearl. You’re dead right about censorship and people running from ideas. The other thing to keep in mind is that censorship has never worked. The mind police often revert to it, but all they can achieve is to ensure that a fertile and private place is created where the original idea will grow and blossom.
    The quiz I’ll have to come back to another time. I’ve overtaxed my brain today . . .

  3. Pearl says:

    Here’s another article on the origins of censorship, rather interesting:

    jb says: Thanks for this, Pearl. Great final quote, and I love the Hoohaa Monologues. And something else, by the way, your site is looking great.