US children's book publisher Boyds Mills Press wanted to censor a book by a German author that depicts a painting of a naked woman and small statue of a naked man on a pedestal that are displayed in a museum. They also wanted to remove pictures of smokers. Although they were all included for "realism's sake," they were also all just cartoon drawings."The author, not surprisingly, considers the request to be absurd. The statue's mini-willy, the author points out, is hardly even a half-millimeter long. And the naked woman hanging on the wall? Hardly a realistic depiction of the female anatomy. The US publisher, says Berner, was embarrassed to ask for the changes, but they were even more afraid of how American mommies and daddies might react if junior were exposed to such pornography.The book ended up not being published. Part of a series, it is a bestseller in 13 other countries.
"For the author, any kind of self-censorship was completely out of the question. She said she could maybe have lived with putting black bars in front of the problem spots, but "invisible censorship" was out. "If you're going to censor something, then the reader should be aware of it," she told SPIEGEL ONLINE."
Here's a detail of the torrid scene:
Roger Sutton, editor of Horn Book Magazine (THE children's book publication) talks about the picture book in his blog (and explains why he doesn't think it's censorship):
"But if I were running Boyds Mills Press, I would have made the exact same call, although I might have spared myself the embarrassment of expressing interest in the first place. Selling picture books is difficult, selling foreign-born picture books is almost impossible, add some boobs and a little dick to the mix and you might as well just climb up to the roof and throw your money over the side. It's not censorship, as there is no private obligation to publish. It's stupid parents. Again."