25 February 2007

Kids Saying the Darnedest Things

National Public Radio’s Weekend America went to kids at a library in Tucson to ask them what they thought of the opening of The Higher Power of Lucky, by Susan Patron. Those paragraphs include the word “scrotum.”

Several of the kids, like ten-year-old Lucky, didn't know what the word means. As neither did I at their age, as I recalled earlier. So this report saved me from a residual qualm of that great fear of adolescence: that everyone else is more sophisticated and having a better time than you.

People who object to the word appearing in the book would presumably say that kids should be ignorant at that age. Others would counter that we’re too prudish about select body parts already, that learning the word “scrotum” along with Lucky is not only harmless but beneficial. From an artistic point of view, it’s clear, Susan Patron has accurately portrayed the knowledge and curiosity of a child.

(Thanks to Diane Mayr for the tip about this broadcast.)

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