Fri 13 Jul, 2007 12:42 am
Author's nude drawings too hot for US publisher
By Tony Paterson in Berlin
Published: 13 July 2007
One of Germany's best-selling children's authors is embroiled in an extraordinary transatlantic row about nudity after a US publisher refused to accept one of her books because it contained naive sketches of an art gallery with works depicting naked bodies.
Rotraut Susanne Berner's illustrated "Wimmel" books about the everyday lives of adults and children have won international acclaim and are best-sellers in 13 countries from Japan to the Faroe Islands.
But the 59-year-old author said her American publisher had refused to accept her latest book for US distribution because it contained elements deemed potentially offensive, including drawings of people naked or smoking. Berner said her US publisher, Boyds Mills Press, had objected in particular to one of her illustrations which showed adults and children in an art gallery where the portrait of a naked woman was on show together with a seven millimetre high sculpture of a naked man exhibiting a barely discernible penis.
She said Boyds Mills Press had informed her that she could either agree to have the offending images removed or the book would be withdrawn. "This was a joke," the author said yesterday. "The man's penis is about half a millimetre in length and the naked woman is clearly part of a work of art and not a real person," she added.
The author said staff at Boyds Mills Press appeared to be acutely embarrassed about their objections but told her they feared being confronted by hundreds of offended parents, if they went ahead and published the book in its existing form.
Berner said she had refused to agree to any self-censorship and had insisted that Boyds Mills should black out the offending images in the US edition. "I thought, if there is going to be censorship, then at least it should be recognisable as such," she said.
With Boyds Mills sticking to its guns yesterday and refusing to accept Berner's conditions, it appears almost certain that the book will not be published in America.
Berner said no other country had raised similar objections. In Germany - a country where nude public bathing is normal - the author's spat with her US publisher met with blank incomprehension. "Micropenis excites US publishing house" wrote Der Spiegel magazine in its online edition.
The row follows the suspension of three 16-year-old pupils from a school outside New York in March this year after they uttered the word "vagina" during a book reading session. Last February, hundreds of US school libraries blacklisted an award-winning children's book entitled The Higher Power of Lucky because the word "scrotum" appeared in its opening pages
Are you surprised, Walter?
Ashamed that I posted the pics here and can't delete them now due to your response! :wink:
Now you gonna be banned for posting pornography!
Prizes Berner got for her books (inlcuding last year the German children book prize) (from Wikipedia, German version
I am using this book in class.
Obviously, someone is mistaking Celsius for Fahrenheit...
This is crazy, but it does not really surprise me!
That does it, Walter! I'm reporting your offensive, pornographic posts to the moderators, that's what I'm doing. You crossed the line there, Hugh Hefner -- this is a family website! Shame on you!
Hmm, Thomas, not for nothing they call me Porno Walter.
im not surprised either.
even the word nude , would not appear in childrens books here.
it is a freakish thing...
Will this get me in trouble, Walter?
No idea, Letty, but it seems to be American origin.
It is. That's our Veep, Cheney. Love it! He's the power behind the throne of King George.
Will this get me in trouble, Walter?
No, because he's wearing undies, and he's not smoking. He also isn't shooting his hunting buddy in the face in this pcture, but I doubt this would offend Americans anyway.
Maybe it's because the nude chick looks like Rosie O'Donut doing yoga. They should replace it with Pam Anderson as Stripperella.