The Higher Power of Lucky — Children’s Books and Their Social Role

Prize-Winning Children’s Book 

by Andrew Gumbel 

Clearly Susan Patron, a public librarian from Los Angeles, did something right when she wrote the novel The Higher Power of Lucky because it won her this year’s Newbery Medal, America’s highest honour for children’s literature.

But she has also triggered a firestorm among conservative librarians and schoolteachers because of a certain word that appears on the book’s very first page.

The word is “scrotum” – a clear enough anatomical expression, one might think, but one that has caused untold consternation among certain cultural guardians who believe children need protection from even the mention of certain body parts.

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