This Librarian Finally Looked at His Copy of ‘In the Night Kitchen’. What He Discovered Shocked Him
(Someone’s been working on their Upworthy-esque headlines)
Sometimes I don’t know if I should post certain things on this blog. Things that are sort of embarrassing fall into this category. Today I had one of those, but I’m posting it anyway.
I was in the stacks when I passed by our Maurice Sendak section. I’ve done it a million times before, but for some reason this time my eyes landed on our copy of In the Night Kitchen, and I had a thought.
Now, if you know anything about the book, you probably know where this story is going. You also know Maurice Sendak’s 1971 Caldecott Honor winner has a controversial history due to the main character’s nudity. K.T. Horning wrote about it in her 2012 article The Naked Truth: Librarians Stood by Maurice Sendak, No Stranger to Controversy for School Library Journal. Horning writes,
I had learned in library school that some librarians had infamously painted diapers on Mickey to avoid controversy.
With that in mind, I decided to take a look at our copy. This is what I saw:
So why is this sort of embarrassing? Firstly, that I haven’t opened our library copy of this book. Secondly that it’s been sitting there censored under my nose for years (we’ve had this book since 1978 – it could have happened at any time) and I didn’t know.
So, K.T., here’s a documented example of a censored In the Night Kitchen. But we’ll be updating our copy soon.
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About Travis Jonker
Travis Jonker is an elementary school librarian in Michigan. He writes reviews (and the occasional article or two) for School Library Journal and is a member of the 2014 Caldecott committee. You can email Travis at firstname.lastname@example.org, or follow him on Twitter: @100scopenotes.
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