Kerryn Boogaard Kerryn Boogaard
Beverly Goldsmith Beverly Goldsmith
Zoe Bingley-Pullin Zoe Bingley-Pullin

Censoring kids’ books:

Why Little Miss Trouble is on the blacklist
By Cassie Hamer
Date: January 07 2012
Tags: reading, books, kids,
Editor Rating:
1little-miss-trouble

'Little Miss Trouble' is skating on thin ice in our household. In fact, she's about to consigned to the recycling bin. Why? Well, in a word, censorship. Pure and simple. 

It goes without saying, there are many things that parents have to censor their kids from - violence, swearing, sex, and anything sung by Justin Beiber. But one thing I didn't count on was having to censor my three year old from some of her own books. My husband and I have come to realise that our 3 year old now understands in some depth the stories we read to her. And some stories simply do not send the right message, like 'Little Miss Trouble'. I'll give you the summary. Little Miss Trouble calls people names, like 'fatty' and 'Big nose'. Poor Mr Small gets punched. Twice. 

Now, I could probably handle all of that if it were accompanied by some kind of messaging about the cruelty of name calling. And of punching. But no. How does the Little Miss get taught a lesson? Well, she gets tickled and bumped for 10 minutes, leaving her feeling very sorry for herself. I'm not sure what Roger Hargreaves was smoking when he wrote this one but it's just not right for little kids.

Mind you, Roger's not the only children's author who seems to be writing on a different planet. We have been given quite a few religious books, kids bibles kind of stories. One of them is called 'The Old Testament'. Interestingly, the three year old loves it. She might be the only child in the world who has ever said the words 'can you please read me The Old Testament?' But, I hate to say, it's just not appropriate. It's supposedly written for children but in the first few pages, there's death, destruction and wickedness. I don't think three year olds really need to know that kind of stuff. It's a hard sell, trying to make The Old Testament child friendly. But I don't think the authors have really tried that hard. Here's how 'Noah's Ark' begins.'In the Years after Adam and Eve were expelled from the Garden of Eden, God saw that men and women had grown increasingly wicked.. so God decided to send a great flood and destroy all living things on the Earth.'Nice. Not. 

There's no doubt, times have changed (specially since the bible was written) in relation to kids story telling. And they've changed pretty quickly. Even Beatrix Potter doesn't quite fit with modern sensibilites. There's a charming little incident in Peter Rabbit where Benjamin Bunny (Snr) kicks a cat, scratches off its fur, then takes out his son Benjamin and whips him with a stick. Oh dear. It's not exactly a sleepy bedtime story. 

Maybe I'm a little too sensitive. Maybe all we need to do is explain that what happens in books is not what happens in realy life. The problem is this. At the moment, the biggest influences on my daughter's life are my husband and I. She listens like a hawk to what we say. And when we're saying words and reading stories that don't quite fit our values, I think it's a little confusing. So, it's goodbye to 'Little Miss Trouble' but 'Little Miss Fun', you can stay. We like you. 

Cassie Hamer is a mother of two and a freelance writer with a background in TV journalism and PR. You can follow her blog at http://www.mumplusmore.blogspot.com

Have you had to censor a book? Share your views and experiences below.  We would love to hear from you!

Share This Tweet This Email To Friend
Recent Comments
1 Total Comments
Imogen says: 2012 01 10
Rating:

Cassie, lighten up!  I always liked Little Miss Trouble because she contradicted the stereotype of ‘sugar and spice and all things nice’!  As for the Bible - surely a sophisticated reader like Cassie has heard of ‘symbolism’ and ‘parable’ and could deal appropriately with the literal Biblical subject matter.

View All Comments
Post a Comment
* your email address will not appear

Please enter the word you see in the image below:


Post a Comment
* your email address will not appear

Please enter the word you see in the image below:33343


Your Comment has been posted
Power of the pooch

New consumer research reveals the power of a pooch
Ensuring Aussie kids feel loved, secure and safe

Free-things-to-do-in-sydney

Free things to do in Sydney
Go out and explore!

Bathrooms-for-germaphobes

Best Bathrooms For Germaphobes
Bathroom renovation tips for germaphobes

Poplol pens giveaway

Win 1-of-3 Packs of Pop’lol Pens Giveaway
Colour your world with Pop'lol!

Globber my too fix up cover

We Try: Globber My TOO Fix Up
A scooter that grows with your child

Throw a winning cricket pitch

3 Steps to a Winning Backyard Cricket Pitch
Ex-Adelaide Oval legend curator Les Burdett shares his tips for getting your backyard cricket pitch test match ready this summer

A bike that follows your kids life cycle - motherpedia - cover

A Bike That Follows Your Kids Life Cycle
Check out the Bunzi 2-in-1 gradual balance bike!

Img 1414 x1

Weekend Recipe: Barbecue Bananas
Surprise your guests at a summer BBQ with this no fuss-dessert that’s bursting with goodness from Australian Bananas.

Legofriends-snow-festival

Head to Thredbo for…
Don't miss the LEGO Friends Snow Festival!

Lego-star-wars-event-motherpedia

Join LEGO Australia to…
Fans invited to celebrate May the 4th Be With You Day 2017 at Westfield Warringah

Easter-holiday-cover

How to Plan a…
Five tips to making the most of the upcoming break

Easter-egg-hunt-for-dogs-cover

Join Australia’s largest ever…
Sydney-siders, no matter how many legs you have - you’re up for a treat over the weekend.