On a scale of one to stupid, I tend to rate book banners on the idiot end. And officials at Utah's Davis School District are right near the top. They've taken a book about a kid with two moms from their school library shelves and hidden it away.
In Our Mothers' House won't be taken out by a kindergartner anytime soon. Too bad the student whose two moms inspired the librarian to stock the book in the first place can't get put behind the counter too! Oops! Turns out the silly censors aren't as smart as they thought they were! Guess you can't hide everything you're uncomfortable with from kids, huh?
Here's a quick lesson for you: if you don't want your kid learning about something, you might want to look around their everyday life and check to see if it already exists before you start fretting about books on the subject. You might find out your kids are already pretty savvy on the subject; I dare say even smarter than you are.
I know the book banning types don't like to admit this, but our kids are nosy little buggers. The more we want them not to hear something, the more likely they are to hear it. The more we want them not to see something, the more likely they are to see it. And when it's right there, in their face, that goes double. So just because they don't see lesbian moms (or the side-view of a nipple ... which is what once got Where's Waldo? booted from a library) in a book doesn't mean they aren't going to see them, like ... ever.
The irony is that approaching a so-called difficult subject through a book is usually EASIER for kids. Think about what you did when the dog died/you were expecting a new baby/you were getting a divorce/etc. You got a book, right? Because breaking kids in via an abstract method is a stepping stone to the real thing. It's a safe space to begin conversation.
But hey, if you'd rather pretend that nobody on this planet has two moms, you go ahead with that. But good luck figuring out what to say when your kid starts enthusing about Sally's awesome moms who make the best cupcakes for snack time. Maybe the folks at Davis could give you some hints?
Or you could pick up a copy of In Our Mothers' House by Patricia Polacco and be prepared for the questions. I hear there's an extra copy just sitting around behind the counter of the library at a certain school in Utah at the moment.
What kind of difficult subjects have you tackled with your kids with the help of a book?
Image via Barnes & Noble