Thursday, February 22, 2007

The Word

No doubt about it. The Word of the Month is "scrotum" (page 1, The Higher Power of Lucky by Susan Patron). Because of The Word, this year's Newbery winner is being challenged, exclaimed over, fussed about from coast to coast. The New York Times managed to give the issue space. Imagine if the Newbery award itself got such attention on an annual basis!

A British medical blog expresses puzzlement at American morality.

And then again is some of the objection deriving from young Lucky's Darwinian stance? Alternet poses some interesting questions.

The NYT article states, "Authors of children’s books sometimes sneak in a single touchy word or paragraph, leaving librarians to choose whether to ban an entire book over one offending phrase." Really? No one told me! In a decade of writing for the children's market I've never once "sneaked" in anything "touchy," although I've had plenty of conversations about which words belonged in a book and why. Clearly I've missed some important wordcrafter's boat.

Read what YA author Alex Flinn has to say in her letter to the Times. Note that the NYT site requires a login.

In all this commotion, is anyone talking about the book? It has a plucky protagonist and a quirky setting. It took Susan Patron ten years to write! Isn't that the conversation we could be having? Journey Woman thinks so.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for the link. I usually spend more time trying to sneak bad words out of my book . . . as in, "Do you think kids will notice if I say 'jerk' instead of _________? Can I rephrase it to avoid the issue completely?" So yeah, the whole sneaking thing just bugged me.

    Alex Flinn - stealth author