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 Post subject: Re: Do you censor books as you read them to your young kids?
PostPosted: Fri Jul 05, 2013 11:29 am 
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Drunk Dialed Ian MacKaye
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That was awesome. We have a Curious George book at home, with like 10 stories in it. I rarely read it though. I guess 5 might be a good age to start discussing some of those things.

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 Post subject: Re: Do you censor books as you read them to your young kids?
PostPosted: Fri Jul 05, 2013 2:05 pm 
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Kelly wrote:
appifanie wrote:
dragonssister wrote:
I probably read a lot of horrific things when I was little and as I got older. I remember reading VC Andrews whole series Flowers in the Attic when I was like 11. I know you are talking about much younger children. I just remember completely skipping over the tween books and going straight to adult novels. My parents never really cared about it. I think I will be a lot more watchful over my children.


hey i was about 11 too! horrifying stuff that VC Andrews (and she's so amazing, still writing even though she's dead!;) Let's not forget Forever by Judy Blume as well - I was def too young for that.


I was obsessed with Stephen King in middle school. I read VC Andrews then too. Cannot believe I was Shae's age when I read all that! He's into mostly nonfiction, historical stuff right now.

Ha! I was busy reading sci-fi and fantasy at that age, although the swear words and sex-scenes (which were pretty tame) kind of horrified my puritan nature.

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 Post subject: Re: Do you censor books as you read them to your young kids?
PostPosted: Fri Jul 05, 2013 2:22 pm 
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I censor a lot of gender stuff in books. What girls and boys like, Mr. and Mrs. stuff, traditional parental roles, etc. I censor meat, eggs, dairy references. I don't read books that just have bad morals at this point. Malka is in love with Curious George, but I don't think we'll ever read that original story to her. I just don't see the value. We also don't read anything about princesses or
anything by Disney. I don't want to have to unteach stuff I put in her head in toddlerhood.

I read the craziest stuff as a pre-teen/teenager. I had forgotten all about Flowers in the Attic! Really messed up. But I think there's some value to finding those kinds of "dangerous" texts as a teenager and reading things that might be considered risque. I was glad no one ever screened the books I read once I was able to read on my own.

Jewy - I can't imagine changing homotzi in my house, but we change the Friday night blessing - instead of saying "May god make you like sarah, rebecca..." we say "May God make you like..." and then name people we're thinking about lately who are strong role models. We also generally call God "She" in my house, to bring a little balance to the universe and hopefully undo the mental images of God that will be actively trying to fork up my kid's spirit for the rest of her life.


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 Post subject: Re: Do you censor books as you read them to your young kids?
PostPosted: Fri Jul 05, 2013 2:45 pm 
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Flowers in the Attic scarred me for life. I could read Stephen King til the sun came up when I was in middle school, but VC Andrews is forever on my shiitake list for writing that one.

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 Post subject: Re: Do you censor books as you read them to your young kids?
PostPosted: Fri Jul 05, 2013 4:50 pm 
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its been a long time guys! anyway, i just got an update in my email for this thread, i showed my now 4 year old the werner herzog curious george and i kinda feel like a bad parent. he hated it.


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 Post subject: Re: Do you censor books as you read them to your young kids?
PostPosted: Fri Jul 05, 2013 6:37 pm 
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There are so many weird messages in children's literature! A friend of ours gave us "A fish out of water" a book about a little boy who overfeeds his fish and his fish grows and grows. But the fish store owner magically makes him small again - how is that even possible? Why would you lead your child to think that?

Or Green Eggs And Ham - teaching you that if you badger someone hard enough you can make them eat meat and eggs.

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 Post subject: Re: Do you censor books as you read them to your young kids?
PostPosted: Fri Jul 05, 2013 9:27 pm 
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We have GE&H, it came with a box set, but it ALWAYS is accompanied by a lecture about positive consent and how it's rude to comment on people's food choices and just letting them say "no thank you" will do just fine and that maybe Sam's victim had a good reason to refuse them.


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 Post subject: Re: Do you censor books as you read them to your young kids?
PostPosted: Fri Jul 05, 2013 11:19 pm 
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I censor God out of all my kids books if he is mentioned. It is surprisingly often and in things I wouldn't expect.


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 Post subject: Re: Do you censor books as you read them to your young kids?
PostPosted: Fri Jul 05, 2013 11:29 pm 
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This is true! There are so many books my MIL gets me that have random religious content. And a few books I've bought that have a page or two about prayer and I almost bought this:

http://www.amazon.com/My-Very-First-Tea ... pd_sim_t_2


I don't remove the references to eg prayer, but I was really annoyed when I ordered a book on amazon and discovered that it was very religion-focused. I wanted a board book about submarines and was excited to find an out of print one that was cheap used.. Well when I got it, it was basically this submarine captained by a rhino that rode around trying to find a treasure chest (that part was literal - I expected it to be a metaphor for something spiritual in the end but they really did find a literal treasure chest of gold) while commenting about how wonderful all of God's creations are on every page. It really had very little plot, and wasn't a good book, which are worse sins to me than presence or absence of religious sentiment.


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 Post subject: Re: Do you censor books as you read them to your young kids?
PostPosted: Mon Jul 08, 2013 1:17 am 
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I am so relieved to hear from others who care about these issues! PPK parents, I <3 you.


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 Post subject: Re: Do you censor books as you read them to your young kids?
PostPosted: Mon Jul 08, 2013 1:32 am 
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Lily is attracted to the "princess" types books. When it comes
to the end, I say they became great friends and had a big party!
I also edit out certain words from all books (fat, stupid, etc).

All those things will be heard and read soon enough,
I'm keeping storytime nice and sweet until
that moment arrives.

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 Post subject: Re: Do you censor books as you read them to your young kids?
PostPosted: Mon Jul 08, 2013 8:37 am 
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erin32mc wrote:
All those things will be heard and read soon enough,
I'm keeping storytime nice and sweet until
that moment arrives.


This is exactly it. We can make things sweeter for now, but it's all looming.

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 Post subject: Re: Do you censor books as you read them to your young kids?
PostPosted: Mon Aug 19, 2013 2:44 pm 
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I never even thought it was common to censor books and the idea makes my skin crawl. My parents never did that (but then they taught me to read at 4 so it would have been pointless after that). Of course I am not speaking from a parent's point of view, but from a children books author's who strongly dislikes even abridged versions and bad translations... I'd say choose only quality books and DVDs and avoid TV, try to preread and prewatch because there is a lot of trash, but what you do select, don't disfigure! It seems a pity to limit children to books that fit exactly with their parents particular worldview, anyway, even besides the problem of altering their first contact with literature and imagination. My parents never made me believe in Santa Claus, for instance, but if they had tried to keep me from even knowing about that character, they could just as well have kept me away from reading about fairies and magicians or, why not, ordinary human characters, since they never existed in real life.

And since when are "fat", "hate" or "ugly" the equals of swear words? I have fat friends who call themselves fat and with no shame thrown in. There are a great many ugly and hateful things in this world. I don't live in the ruled-by-PTA USA so that may be why it feels odd from my perspective, but all this editing seems ridiculously proper to me.

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 Post subject: Re: Do you censor books as you read them to your young kids?
PostPosted: Mon Aug 19, 2013 3:14 pm 
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GooGoo loves "Green 'Veggs' and 'Wham'". But it is a really ridiculous book and I honestly don't like it that much.

Curious George... oh man. When I was a teenager, way before I even understood what being vegan was, I remember censoring those for my sister... halfway serious, halfway tongue in cheek. My mom was annoyed that I kept referring to how the man took George to "the animal testing and research center" and I would emphasise phrases like "We can USE you, George!" like he was a commodity.

I guess personally if it's a book I'd have to heavily censor, I'd rather just not read it to my children at all.

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 Post subject: Re: Do you censor books as you read them to your young kids?
PostPosted: Mon Aug 19, 2013 3:52 pm 
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Minatomachi wrote:
I never even thought it was common to censor books and the idea makes my skin crawl. My parents never did that (but then they taught me to read at 4 so it would have been pointless after that). Of course I am not speaking from a parent's point of view, but from a children books author's who strongly dislikes even abridged versions and bad translations... I'd say choose only quality books and DVDs and avoid TV, try to preread and prewatch because there is a lot of trash, but what you do select, don't disfigure! It seems a pity to limit children to books that fit exactly with their parents particular worldview, anyway, even besides the problem of altering their first contact with literature and imagination. My parents never made me believe in Santa Claus, for instance, but if they had tried to keep me from even knowing about that character, they could just as well have kept me away from reading about fairies and magicians or, why not, ordinary human characters, since they never existed in real life.

And since when are "fat", "hate" or "ugly" the equals of swear words? I have fat friends who call themselves fat and with no shame thrown in. There are a great many ugly and hateful things in this world. I don't live in the ruled-by-PTA USA so that may be why it feels odd from my perspective, but all this editing seems ridiculously proper to me.


Yeah, I'm not worried about altering my child's first interaction with Dr. Seuss or Eric Carle. Do not care even the tiniest bit. Because her primary interest is looking at the pictures, hearing my tone, meter, etc. in reading, and identifying that those squiggles on the page are actually letters (Mommy? Sing ABCs? Sing 'gain?). This is about story-telling, not sacrosanct "literature" - not that I actually believe literature is ever sacrosanct - once it's out of the author's hands, it is all about the reader. Ideas children are exposed to in toddlerhood imprint on them and become expected. I don't need my daughter thinking it's expected to eat animals, expected for couples to be Mr. and Mrs., expected that all children are naughty and do mean things to their parents and peers, etc. I am not just exposing her to value-neutral literature in our reading, I am actively teaching her about how to be in the world.

"Fat" and "ugly" are swear words when they are used in texts and speech to demean others, which is 99% of the way they are used. The HAIS folks are not printing children's books as far as I know. And *I* call myself fat without shame, so all the more so I wouldn't want my daughter reading things that strongly indicated there was something negative about being fat - although I don't think we're going to be allowing books glorifying princesses in the house ever, for so many reasons. I would be happy to be pointed to a book appropriate for toddlers that used fat in either a positive or neutral sense referring to humans. I don't really have a problem with hate as a concept, but y'know, it's both our right and obligation as parents to work on passing down our values to our kids and if there is a text that is otherwise fabulous that needs very slight tweaking in order to shift the message, I think that's just another tool in our parenting sheds. Part of passing down our values also means not letting those values get drowned out by the competing values being presented by mass culture.


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 Post subject: Re: Do you censor books as you read them to your young kids?
PostPosted: Mon Aug 19, 2013 3:59 pm 
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I censor with she and he at this point. I feel like there are so many books that talk about little male characters, and I'd like her to hear the same stories with female ones.

At 21 months, she is fascinated by who is a boy/Dada and who is a girl/Mama, so I don't like the idea of her hearing only about male characters. And for most children's books gender is irrelevant.

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 Post subject: Re: Do you censor books as you read them to your young kids?
PostPosted: Mon Aug 19, 2013 8:08 pm 
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Ariann wrote:
Minatomachi wrote:
I never even thought it was common to censor books and the idea makes my skin crawl. My parents never did that (but then they taught me to read at 4 so it would have been pointless after that). Of course I am not speaking from a parent's point of view, but from a children books author's who strongly dislikes even abridged versions and bad translations... I'd say choose only quality books and DVDs and avoid TV, try to preread and prewatch because there is a lot of trash, but what you do select, don't disfigure! It seems a pity to limit children to books that fit exactly with their parents particular worldview, anyway, even besides the problem of altering their first contact with literature and imagination. My parents never made me believe in Santa Claus, for instance, but if they had tried to keep me from even knowing about that character, they could just as well have kept me away from reading about fairies and magicians or, why not, ordinary human characters, since they never existed in real life.

And since when are "fat", "hate" or "ugly" the equals of swear words? I have fat friends who call themselves fat and with no shame thrown in. There are a great many ugly and hateful things in this world. I don't live in the ruled-by-PTA USA so that may be why it feels odd from my perspective, but all this editing seems ridiculously proper to me.


Yeah, I'm not worried about altering my child's first interaction with Dr. Seuss or Eric Carle. Do not care even the tiniest bit. Because her primary interest is looking at the pictures, hearing my tone, meter, etc. in reading, and identifying that those squiggles on the page are actually letters (Mommy? Sing ABCs? Sing 'gain?). This is about story-telling, not sacrosanct "literature" - not that I actually believe literature is ever sacrosanct - once it's out of the author's hands, it is all about the reader. Ideas children are exposed to in toddlerhood imprint on them and become expected. I don't need my daughter thinking it's expected to eat animals, expected for couples to be Mr. and Mrs., expected that all children are naughty and do mean things to their parents and peers, etc. I am not just exposing her to value-neutral literature in our reading, I am actively teaching her about how to be in the world.

"Fat" and "ugly" are swear words when they are used in texts and speech to demean others, which is 99% of the way they are used. The HAIS folks are not printing children's books as far as I know. And *I* call myself fat without shame, so all the more so I wouldn't want my daughter reading things that strongly indicated there was something negative about being fat - although I don't think we're going to be allowing books glorifying princesses in the house ever, for so many reasons. I would be happy to be pointed to a book appropriate for toddlers that used fat in either a positive or neutral sense referring to humans. I don't really have a problem with hate as a concept, but y'know, it's both our right and obligation as parents to work on passing down our values to our kids and if there is a text that is otherwise fabulous that needs very slight tweaking in order to shift the message, I think that's just another tool in our parenting sheds. Part of passing down our values also means not letting those values get drowned out by the competing values being presented by mass culture.


Well, I do consider a lot of books for young children as literature rather than pedagogical material, and nothing will change that. But I approve of fanfics so I'll try to simply consider this censoring as turning a book into a fanfic rather than butchering it. (Though as an author it makes me feel like turning over in my grave before it's dug.)

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 Post subject: Re: Do you censor books as you read them to your young kids?
PostPosted: Tue Aug 20, 2013 1:27 am 
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Here's a list of a few fat-positive or neutral picture books featuring fat characters: http://kateharding.net/2008/09/03/fat-p ... -part-one/ It's a depressingly short list!


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 Post subject: Re: Do you censor books as you read them to your young kids?
PostPosted: Tue Aug 20, 2013 7:17 am 
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Very interesting discussion.

I have a large stash of children's books (500 or so maybe) from my teaching days, and while I try and weed out the stuff to which I don't want Freya to be exposed yet, some slips through. Our two noticeable ones lately are both Maisy books. One where Maisy is baking gingerbread and needs butter, eggs, etc. I'd just changed the text to say margarine and sugar or something, but then she notices sometimes on the next page that the illustration has a couple of cracked eggs. She doesn't know that they're going into the gingerbread because to her, eggs are where baby animals come from, but yeah...it's there. The other is a farm one where Maisy milks a cow. I think that one is just going to disappear. Oh, and the 5 Little Ducks version where one of them "asks for some milk, from a cow of course". This has spawned a whole recurring dialogue about how we don't drink cow milk but rather baby cows do; baby pigs drink pig milk, yada yada. And what does Freya drink? Mommy milk. :p

Honestly, I too am bothered (generally) far more by the gender nonsense than vegan issues. When I was in charge of organizing our school library at the Y a few years ago, my coworker and I made some books ("mommy likes ironing daddy's shirts"). Now if mommy really likes ironing, then bully for her, but maybe daddy's the one does the laundry, eh? One of my other favorites is in The Tiger Who Came to Tea (an insanely beloved book here) where the tiger drinks "all of daddy's beer" and poor befuddled mommy doesn't know what to do for dinner and is all in a tizzy until daddy shows up and becomes the hero (by suggesting they go to a cafe). FFS.

There is a lot of subtle racism in older (and maybe some newer?) children's books too. All the brown people working in the service positions, for instance. Also, I'd like to find some books with good illustrations or examples of same-sex couples/families that aren't overtly about homosexuality, but that just have gay people in them.


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 Post subject: Re: Do you censor books as you read them to your young kids?
PostPosted: Tue Aug 20, 2013 8:19 am 
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refinnej wrote:
There is a lot of subtle racism in older (and maybe some newer?) children's books too. All the brown people working in the service positions, for instance.

OMG!

I'm personally not bothered about gender roles in books, but that's mostly because (a) I am the parent with the domestic skills so on one hand, I do fall into the traditional female role, (b) I am also the parent with the DIY skills (just fixed the lawnmower this weekend), so even if my kids read books that may be on the sexist side, I figure I'll have a bigger impression on them as role model than any books (or TV shows, for that matter).

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 Post subject: Re: Do you censor books as you read them to your young kids?
PostPosted: Tue Aug 20, 2013 2:22 pm 
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refinnej wrote:
Very interesting discussion.

I have a large stash of children's books (500 or so maybe) from my teaching days, and while I try and weed out the stuff to which I don't want Freya to be exposed yet, some slips through. Our two noticeable ones lately are both Maisy books. One where Maisy is baking gingerbread and needs butter, eggs, etc. I'd just changed the text to say margarine and sugar or something, but then she notices sometimes on the next page that the illustration has a couple of cracked eggs. She doesn't know that they're going into the gingerbread because to her, eggs are where baby animals come from, but yeah...it's there. The other is a farm one where Maisy milks a cow. I think that one is just going to disappear. Oh, and the 5 Little Ducks version where one of them "asks for some milk, from a cow of course". This has spawned a whole recurring dialogue about how we don't drink cow milk but rather baby cows do; baby pigs drink pig milk, yada yada. And what does Freya drink? Mommy milk. :p

Honestly, I too am bothered (generally) far more by the gender nonsense than vegan issues. When I was in charge of organizing our school library at the Y a few years ago, my coworker and I made some books ("mommy likes ironing daddy's shirts"). Now if mommy really likes ironing, then bully for her, but maybe daddy's the one does the laundry, eh? One of my other favorites is in The Tiger Who Came to Tea (an insanely beloved book here) where the tiger drinks "all of daddy's beer" and poor befuddled mommy doesn't know what to do for dinner and is all in a tizzy until daddy shows up and becomes the hero (by suggesting they go to a cafe). FFS.

There is a lot of subtle racism in older (and maybe some newer?) children's books too. All the brown people working in the service positions, for instance. Also, I'd like to find some books with good illustrations or examples of same-sex couples/families that aren't overtly about homosexuality, but that just have gay people in them.



For the racism: we have a book about planting trees with a multiracial cast, but it is clear that there is a white family at the center and the other kids who are nonwhite do much more of the physical labor. It is so weird.

On gay couples, I love "Monday is a Day.". It is about parents having to go to work, and the parents just happen to be two dads. Also I know the two dads, so it makes me smile to read it :)


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 Post subject: Re: Do you censor books as you read them to your young kids?
PostPosted: Tue Aug 20, 2013 2:25 pm 
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My little piggies sometimes go ahead and eat roast beef and sometimes tofu or veggies depending on the mood. Maybe seitan. I might change that when he's older, I dunno.


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 Post subject: Re: Do you censor books as you read them to your young kids?
PostPosted: Tue Aug 20, 2013 2:33 pm 
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Minatomachi wrote:
Well, I do consider a lot of books for young children as literature rather than pedagogical material, and nothing will change that. But I approve of fanfics so I'll try to simply consider this censoring as turning a book into a fanfic rather than butchering it. (Though as an author it makes me feel like turning over in my grave before it's dug.)


One has to wonder if you've ever seen a board book. Also, I can't even express how little you approval in this are means to me. Half the beauty of art is that the artist can't control the message after it leaves their hand. If an author can appreciate that a little, maybe they can grow to have a little respect for their readership.


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 Post subject: Re: Do you censor books as you read them to your young kids?
PostPosted: Tue Aug 20, 2013 2:46 pm 
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That pretty much sums up what I was thinking, Ariann. I don't like censoring books for older kids, but with a toddler you really can't have a dialogue about critical issues/point of view every time you read a book.

We've been reading books about using the potty so I change words for things to match what we say. For example, in a part teaching about body parts, a book says you have a mouth to eat with and a wee wee (picture of girl's body) to pee with. A wee wee? No thanks.

I just got a Dr. Sears picture book about using the potty, and while Dr. Sears is not someone I put a lot of stock into, I love that the book has drawings of nursing moms and babies. I haven't read the whole thing yet so maybe it has other issues, but babynut was super excited to see that and it sparked a conversation about nursing. I guess I should find some other books that show more of that kind of thing.


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 Post subject: Re: Do you censor books as you read them to your young kids?
PostPosted: Tue Aug 20, 2013 3:07 pm 
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haha Butternut I think I know the "wee wee" book you are talking about (Once Upon A Potty, right?) Oh man, we had the boy version of that book 'cause it was a handmedown but jesus Dahlia made us read that all the time to her. Such a weird book.


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