A week ago today, my friend and I were getting ready to leave the city. We had just enough time to visit the New York Public Library. I collect children’s books, so the special exhibit – “The ABC of It: Why Children’s Books Matter” going on through September 7 was right up my alley.
One alcove contained an exhibit of banned books:
You just never know what irreparable harm books like Where the Wild Things Are and Everyone Poops could do to young, impressionable minds!
This is Garth Williams’ book The Rabbits’ Wedding, published in 1958:
It caused an uproar, because it was seen as an endorsement of interracial marriage. Alabama Senator E. O. Biggins said, “This book and many others should be taken off the shelves and burned.”
I like Garth Williams’ delightfully snarky response:
“I was completely unaware that animals with white fur, such as white polar bears and white dogs and white rabbits, were considered blood relations of white beings. I was only aware that a white horse next to a black horse looks very picturesque.”
Alabama State Library Agency director and civil rights activist Emily Wheelock Reed went to battle with Eddins. (Librarians rule)! In the end the book was not banned, but placed on “special reserve shelves.”
We went upstairs to admire the library’s magnificent Beaux-Arts architecture and design.
Behind the library is Bryant Park – a jewel in the heart of midtown.
We had lunch at Wichcraft, conveniently located at one corner of the park, and savored our last few moments in Manhattan: