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Maurice Sendak's In the Night Kitchen is a Banned Book?

The tizzy last week over Obama's back-to-school address should remind those who live in liberal bastions that censorship is alive and well. Banned Books Week, which begins on September 26, is another reminder. So maybe that’s the perfect week to visit the Contemporary Jewish Museum’s retrospective of the work of Maurice Sendak.

Sendak's In the Night Kitchen, which regularly appears on the American Library Association's list of "frequently challenged and banned books," features illustrations of a little tyke losing his trousers and falling naked into a pitcher of milk. Wow, racy! It has recently been claimed that the book "desensitizes children to nudity.” To remedy this, some librarians have added pants. Or diapers.

Sendak said the brouhaha is "ludicrous, ridiculous and sad." He never received any letters of complaint from children themselves, he pointed out. "As far as we know," said Sendak, "children are pleased with their bodies."

So in defiance of banned books everywhere, go see the largest-ever collection of Sendak's original work at the CJM.

And check out this cool New York Times look book on the making of upcoming feature film, Where The Wild Things Are.