Blogger Suzi Wackerbarth

Banned books in the past: “Goodnight Moon”

Did you know that Goodnight Moon was essentially banned from the New York Public Library from 1947 to 1972?

Yesterday I read The Important Thing about Margaret Wise Brown. OH MY. What a treasure trove of library history!! You probably knew about book bans in the 70s with Judy Blume, but did you know about Anne Carroll Moore in the 1940s? Anne Carroll Moore was one of “THE” important librarians for the New York Public Library and she did a lot of great things for the profession, as you will discover in Miss Moore thought Otherwise. However, she didn’t like Margaret Wise Brown’s books. She called them “truck” which was not a nice thing to say. From “The Important Thing…”

“When Anne Carroll Moore read the wrong kind of book, she picked up a rubber stamp, which she slammed down BAM! And which said NOT RECOMMENDED FOR PURCHASE BY EXPERT.”

(This is banning!)

Goodnight Moon (book) side by side with The Important Thing about Margaret Wise Brown, a book telling about GM's banning in the 1940s.
Photo by Suzi Wackerbarth

And a lot of libraries listened to Anne Carroll Moore, because “She was important.”

So Goodnight Moon did not get to come to the library, or many other libraries. Anne Carroll Moore even visited the New York Public Library after she retired and tore up a list Francis Sayers, her replacement, had made. That’s how much power was in the hands of this ONE children’s librarian. In fact, Goodnight Moon didn’t get into the NYPL catalog until 1972, one year after I was born.

Can you imagine? Allowing Goodnight Moon to be banned from the NYPL for 25 years after its publication? This is the power one woman had!!

Please consider supporting librarians who are fighting the battle against book banning. Some resources:

We need Diverse Books: Book Banning Resources

Amanda Jones, a school librarian on the front lines, has just come out with a book called That Librarian. From the publisher’s website: “Mapping the book banning crisis occurring all across the nation, That Librarian draws the battle lines in the war against equity and inclusion, calling book lovers everywhere to rise in defense of our readers”

ALA’s Banned and Challenged books website

Kelly Jensen on Twitter, a Book Riot editor who is an EXCELLENT resource.

This blog post from ALSC, a great resource!

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