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Last Updated: Monday, 19 February 2007, 16:01 GMT
Schools shun book over one word
Cover of The Higher Power of Lucky
Patron said she wanted Lucky to be a credible character
A children's author has said she is "horrified" after her book was banned from some US schools and libraries.

Susan Patron's award-winning The Higher Power of Lucky has run into trouble because it contains the word "scrotum".

Schools in several states are refusing to stock the book, intended for ages nine to 12, which won the prestigious Newbery Medal for children's fiction.

Some librarians posting on message boards said the book "misjudged its audience" and used "shock treatment".

The offending word appears early on in the book when the heroine, Lucky Trimble, overhears a man talking about a snakebite to his dog.

Sammy told of the day when he had drunk half a gallon of rum listening to Johnny Cash all morning in his parked '62 Cadillac, then fallen out of the car when he saw a rattlesnake on the passenger seat biting his dog, Roy, on the scrotum
Excerpt from The Higher Power of Lucky
The word is repeated as Lucky is described as thinking the word is "medical and secret, but also important".

Patron, a librarian herself, condemned the idea of stopping families choosing reading material for themselves.

"I was shocked and horrified to read that some school librarians, teachers, and media specialists are choosing not to include the 2007 Newbery Medal winner in their collections," she wrote in Publishers Weekly.

Those people were afraid of parental objections or were uncomfortable with the word themselves, she said.

"If I were a parent of a middle-grade child, I would want to make decisions about my child's reading myself.

"I'd be appalled that my school librarian had decided to take on the role of censor and deny my child access to a major award-winning book."

The globally successful Harry Potter series has also run into trouble in the US, with some schools restricting access because of fears that it could promote witchcraft.

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