Home » Reluctant Mother’s Book Ban

Reluctant Mother’s Book Ban

banned booksWhen I was in middle school, I became aware of the Judy Blume Book Forever.  (Oversimplified synopsis: it deals with teenagers having sex).

I grew up in a small town and folks tended to lean towards the conservative.  In fact, the local cable TV station owners were so conservative, they refused to carry MTV as a channel offering.  To this day when someone says “do you remember that video?” I have to sadly say I do not.

Anyway, as soon as my girlfriends and I caught wind that a book written by one of our all-time favorite authors, included what we imagined to be a users-guide to teenage sex, we were very interested.

Not surprisingly due to the content of the book, it wasn’t like we could just go get it at the local library or bookstore.  This was long before Amazon.com or even the Internet.  Someone was going to have to ask their parents to drive to a book store at the closest mall (which was about 45 minutes away) and purchase the book for them.  No one was brave enough to ask.

But our luck turned around come the holiday break.  Our friend Mary Lynne’s mother actually BOUGHT THE BOOK FOR HER!  Mary Lynne of course, brought the book to school and read that shit proudly in study hall.

Well, read it proudly until one of the teachers noticed what she was reading.  This earned poor Mary Lynne a trip to the office and a phone call to her Mother. . .Where I picture her Mother calmly taking a drag on a cigarette and exhaling blue smokey curly cues while she answered, “I’m aware she’s reading Forever.  I bought it for her myself.”  So bad ass!

Mary Lynne finished the book in the privacy of her own bad-ass home.  And she happily loaned out the book to countless others 8th Grade girls who did the same, myself included.

However, the entire experience left quite an impression upon me.  I was already forming a rebellious (or possibly just a liberal?) agenda in my head and as far as I was concerned telling someone what they could or could not read was bullshit.  Furthermore, attempting to restrict access to ideas or knowledge simply because you didn’t agree with said ideas or knowledge just seemed wrong. . .even to my 8th grade hair product, Benetton, and Bugle Boy obsessed brain.

I promised myself then and there, if I ever had children,  I wouldn’t ever tell them what to think, what to read, what to write. . .They could decide for themselves.

Except now I have a kid.  With books.  And I’m banning them left and right:

1.  The Saggy Baggy Elephant – BANNED!  Because Kid insists I read the first page over and over again while he runs through the house screaming “One Two Three, Kick!”

2.  Caps for Sale – BANNED!  Because Kid will only allow a reading of the three pages dealing with the peddler arguing with the monkeys, screaming Tsz, Tsz, Tsz repeatedly.

3.  Fox in Socks – BANNED!  Because Kid insists I read the book in a funny voice I created one night while I was drinking and doing that voice for the duration of the book in the absence of alcohol makes my throat hurt.

4.  The Giving Tree & Love You Forever – BANNED!  Because they make me cry.

5.  Elmo’s Walk in the Woods – BANNED!  Because this book contains little lift up flaps and Mac tore one off.  It was lost before I could repair it and now every time we get to that particular page he pitches a fit and pulls at the thing like it’s a nasty hangnail.

6.  It’s Potty Time and You’re My Little Love Bug – BANNED!  Because these books talk and their infuriating teensy little batteries are dying, making them unreliable and thus infuriating to the Kid.

7.  I’m Just a Little Meerkat – BANNED!  Because I can’t decide if it’s supposed to rhyme or not. . .The rhythm is funky and it bothers me to no end.

8.  The Eric Carle What Do You See? books – we have three.  TEMPORARILY BANNED for excessive over-use.

9.  Good Morning Bluebird!  – TEMPORARILY BANNED because it’s covered in a sticky substance (banana?)

10.  The Tales of Mother Goose – PARTIAL BAN for violence, archaic prose, and parental annoyance factor.

The Kid loves to read – which is fabulous.  Do I feel the slightest bit guilty about temporarily hiding certain books from him?  Yes. . .

But I’m pretty sure I’ll get over it.  If I never have to do that annoying Fox in Socks voice again, it will be too soon!

No Responses to “Reluctant Mother’s Book Ban”

  1. What?!?! How could I have missed this Judy Blume book?!? “Are You There God, It’s Me Margaret” was all we managed to find to pass around. Now I feel cheated.
    I am most thankful that my little girl seems to like the same kind of books I like to read. I don’t actually need the books, I can recite them by heart. Many nights they play on repeat through my head. Her current favorites are anything by Sandra Boynton in particular “Belly Button Book”, “The Gruffalo” by Julia Donaldson, which had to be sidelined temporarily for vocal cord recovery, and “Jamberry” by some guy named Frank.
    In theory I agree with the “you should be able to read any thing you want” stand. But then I think about the what I read as a pre-teen and teenage and I am horrified at the idea of my daughter reading such smut. I just prefer not to think about such things for the moment. The “Belly Button Book” is just fine with me!!

    • Deni Lyn says:

      We are BIG into the “Bee Bo” right now too! Mac took it to bed with him last night!

      I remember reading all kinds of stuff when I was a pre-teen my Mother would have flipped out about had she known. . .Stephen King, etc.

      But she was pretty ok with allowing me to read whatever I wanted so long as I was reading. It might have been a better idea to read the book too and discuss it with me. . .Maybe I wouldn’t be afraid of evil cars developing free will (Christine) or clowns (It) to this day had she done so. . . Actually, I probably would still be afraid of that stuff!

      She had younger children. . .I can see why she was just happy I was reading and not doing something destructive. Ha.

      Plus, look how well we turned out. 😉 See you at the Belly Button Beach! XO

      • Oh I would love to be at the beach right now! I would be a right happy hippo! Impending winter storm here unfortunately 🙁 Our Bee bos are in hiding.
        Yeah, pretty sure my mom was thinking the same thing.

  2. Oh, I remember all about Ralph. 🙂 I can’t remember how I got my hands on that book. I think my sister owned it, but my memory is fuzzy. Ah, Judy Blume. I loved her stuff. I wonder how Sally J. Freedman is doing?

    Thanks for the list of other books to avoid. The “What Do You See” ones drives me BONKERS! Others I would add to your list are “The Very Busy Spider” and “Tickle Time”. I’m animated when I read, and those 2 wear me out to the point I have had to hide them. What the hell does “gitchy gitch goo” mean, anyway?

    • Deni Lyn says:

      I can’t wait for when Mac is older so I can read him a chapter from my favorite childhood books before bed! Anything by Dahl!

      I’ll let the kid read anything once. . .It just always seems like he wants to read the stuff I find completely mind numbing over and over and over.

      I’ve mentioned WADDLE before. That’s a keeper. I also hated at first (and so did Mac) The Napping House. But now we love it. Although, I still can’t read each page completely – he’s not patient enough. He wants to speed ahead to the part where Granny breaks the bed!

      We have Very Busy Spider. So far, so good but he hasn’t requested it repeatedly.

      Another one Mac loves is Dogfish by Gillian Shields. And I adore the illustrations and the story. I’ll bet you might like that one too. The family lives on the 44th floor! 🙂

  3. such a shame, I had to ban ALL books from one of my 3 year olds – she eats them. literally. the doctor and I can not figure it out, other than for him to say, “it must just be a texture thing – good luck when she discovers bubble gum”

    • Hahaha! My daughter does the same thing. Some of our books are pretty sorry looking. She prefers news paper though. I caught her the other day looking like she had a wad of chew packed in her cheek. Nope, just newspaper.

      • Deni Lyn says:

        EATS BOOKS!? And NEWSPAPERS!? I guess now that you mention it, I remember a boy in grade school who ate paper. Of course the kid who ate paste seems to be a more prominent memory. . .

    • Deni Lyn says:

      Even the board books?! I hope she outgrows that soon! Surely she will.

      Funny aside: I knew a dog that once ate half a door frame and an electric blanket. The vet said perhaps “something was lacking in his diet.” What?

  4. My mom bought me Forever because I was a Judy Blume superfan…she had no idea it was all about sex, and there was no way I was going to tell her lol

    I hid many books from my son when he was little, because he’s obsess over one and we’d have to read it 50 times a day…that worked until he’d request the hidden book, I’d distract him with a different book, he’d get obsessed with that book and we’d endlessly repeat the cycle

    • Deni Lyn says:

      We are RIGHT THERE! This poor kid has been wandering through the house for a day saying “Fox” and Caps”? I offered up other selections but he’s still asking sometimes. I figure if we get a bunch of bad weather tomorrow, I’ll really make his day and read those two books over and over and over again. Thank you for the comment!

  5. Lol! I must admit that when my 9 year old, who hates to read, finally downloaded a book that she won’t put down, I was tempted to check and see if it was totally appropriate! I am glad I saved all of her books though. My two year old cant get enough of them, and I too hide some of them….to keep my sanity in check!

    • Deni Lyn says:

      Ha! I’d say you definitely have every right to be curious about what the 9 year-old is suddenly so interested in reading! 😉

      It seems we are not the only ones who hide certain books from toddlers. Whew!

      Thanks for the comment!

  6. modmomelleroy says:

    I didn’t read any Judy Blume. Missed it completely. How did that happen? Forever sounds like the Fifty Shades of puberty. Such scandal! #3 kills me! Been there!

    • Deni Lyn says:

      I’m not sure how you missed Judy Blume!? The Fifty Shades of Puberty cracks me up. True. Very true. Thanks for reading and commenting. Thanks for the blog hop!

  7. I won’t read any books I hate to the kids. I just can’t. Sometimes, they have horrible bath tub accidents… or fall in the toilet. It’s tragic. Especially if afterwards I realize it’s a library book…