December 9, 2015
Time is reporting that a Marshfield, Wisconsin, school board member believes a children’s book about the Muppets is too graphic for young children and wants it banned. She thinks that the book “For Every Child A Better World”, ‘written’ by Kermit in collaboration with the United Nations, and actually penned by Muppets creator, Jim Henson, will traumatize kindergartners.
The book illustrates global issues, such as homelessness, poverty and violence, sometimes using images of suffering children. The book is meant to be read aloud in class. Mary Carney, the school board member who raised the concern, was elected to the board this past April. She believes it may not be appropriate for children to be exposed to the plight of other children less fortunate than themselves. Says Carney, “Unfortunately in this world there is a lot of war and strife and poverty; I understand that. I just don’t know how appropriate that is to be teaching that to 5-year-olds.”
Ms. Carney also believes that the entire school’s social studies curriculum, from kindergarten through sixth grade, “downplays American exceptionalism” and focuses too much on world affairs. Other teachers and board members have no such concerns about the Muppet book. One stated, “I believe it shows compassion for people other than yourself. I think that’s a good thing.”
The school board has the final say in the matter; they will vote on it shortly. Other books that have been banned by schools in the past include “The Adventures of Huckelberry Finn”, “The Autobiography of Malcolm X”, “Moby-Dick” and “The Catcher in the Rye.”