Book banning? Here in France? The bewildering and upsetting story has unfolded this month after a right-wing politician called for the censorship of a children’s book entitled “Everybody Gets Naked” (Tous a Poil!). You might have heard the story or seen the rather creative reaction of French booksellers – stripping off their clothes to protest! (See photo above.)
According to the authors, the book aims to help children feel more comfortable with their own bodies by showing drawings of regular people taking off their clothes. The idea is we all take off our clothes at some point and it’s OK to be ourselves.
Whether a parent feels the book is appropriate or not for his or her child is a personal choice. In my own opinion, most Parisian children see more daring pictures if they pass a magazine rack on their way home from school! And as a parent myself, I’ve come across plenty of other French children’s books that deal with nudity or other sensitive subjects. So I don’t understand why this one is stirring up such a commotion.
In any case, what most concerns me is the idea of censorship. I honestly don’t think that there is a big risk that this or any other book will be banned, but the simple suggestion is just too close for comfort. If a country starts by banning a children’s book with a lighthearted look at nudity, where will it draw the line?