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German children book "to hot" for USA

 
 
Reply Fri 13 Jul, 2007 12:42 am
Quote:
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Mills Press had informed her that she could either agree to have the offending images removed or the book would be withdrawn.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sticking to its guns yesterday and refusing to accept Berner's conditions, it appears almost certain that the book will not be published in America.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
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Type: Discussion • Score: 1 • Views: 2,183 • Replies: 21
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Walter Hinteler
 
  1  
Reply Fri 13 Jul, 2007 12:43 am
http://i16.tinypic.com/67h0rdh.jpg

http://i13.tinypic.com/66mz7sp.jpg http://i8.tinypic.com/642idsg.jpg
(copied from Spiegel)
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Francis
 
  1  
Reply Fri 13 Jul, 2007 12:46 am
Are you surprised, Walter? Twisted Evil
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Walter Hinteler
 
  1  
Reply Fri 13 Jul, 2007 12:52 am
Ashamed, Francis.

Ashamed that I posted the pics here and can't delete them now due to your response! :wink:
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Francis
 
  1  
Reply Fri 13 Jul, 2007 12:56 am
Great!

Now you gonna be banned for posting pornography! Twisted Evil Twisted Evil
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Walter Hinteler
 
  1  
Reply Fri 13 Jul, 2007 12:58 am
Prizes Berner got for her books (inlcuding last year the German children book prize) (from Wikipedia, German version)

http://i16.tinypic.com/4qh5ldk.jpg
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ul
 
  1  
Reply Fri 13 Jul, 2007 01:16 am
Too hot?
I am using this book in class.
Embarrassed
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Francis
 
  1  
Reply Fri 13 Jul, 2007 01:20 am
Obviously, someone is mistaking Celsius for Fahrenheit...
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Bohne
 
  1  
Reply Fri 13 Jul, 2007 03:05 am
This is crazy, but it does not really surprise me!
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Thomas
 
  1  
Reply Fri 13 Jul, 2007 03:49 am
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!
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Walter Hinteler
 
  1  
Reply Fri 13 Jul, 2007 04:40 am
Hmm, Thomas, not for nothing they call me Porno Walter.
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shewolfnm
 
  1  
Reply Fri 13 Jul, 2007 05:00 am
im not surprised either.

even the word nude , would not appear in childrens books here.

it is a freakish thing...


sad really
0 Replies
 
Walter Hinteler
 
  1  
Reply Fri 13 Jul, 2007 05:22 am
Quote:
German children's book author Rotraut Susanne Berner was delighted when her latest worldwide success story, the newest of her "Wimmelb├╝cher" series, was courted by a publisher in the notoriously fickle US book market.

However, after celebrating the fact that a German book had been noticed by the normally indifferent American publishing industry, Berner's happiness turned to consternation when she discovered just how fickle the industry could be.

Of course, said publishers, Boyds Mills Press, there would be some cultural differences that would have to be addressed and possibly changed, which Berner herself was happy to consider. The publishers suggested that the inclusion of some smokers in the brightly colored illustrations would not be suitable for US children, and Berner agreed.

But when the publishers began suggesting censorship of naked artworks in the background of a museum scene, the German author couldn't believe what she was hearing.

"It was a sensation to start with," said Berner of her amazement at attracting US interest, in an interview with the German Der Spiegel news magazine. But when the suggestions for edits and exclusions started to flood in over the nude paintings and sculpture, she thought it was a joke.

Teenie weenie causes problems



What could possibly have got the suits at Boyds Mills so hot under the overly starched collar? A painting depicting a gratuitous Roman orgy being viewed by wide-eyed 5-year olds? A massive bronze phallus gawped at by an awestruck group of pre-teens? Hardly. Apart from a tasteful nude reclining in a slightly blurred watercolor in the background, the main offending artifact was a tiny male statue and its microscopic penis.



On the page, the sculpture stands at a very unthreatening seven millimeters tall and the appendage could, at first glance, be dismissed as a wayward brushstroke. The "little willy" as Berner called it "was barely half a millimeter in length." The sculpture is an aside in the overall museum scene and is in no way prominent to the storyline on that page, she added.

Yet, the censors spotted it and wanted it out. It seemed that the whole micro-penis affair is "highly embarrassing" to the publishing company, according to Berner, which fears a backlash from angry parents if the book is published with the tiny organ still in place.

Author pulls plug over censorship

While Berner admitted that she could have lived with the offending artworks being covered by a black box or bar in the book, the author and graphic arts designer said that she could not agree to a complete reworking of the page and the omission of the artifacts. Instead, she pulled the plug on the US deal.

The contract would have been a sweet one, but Berner need not worry. Her books are sold all over the world and she has racked up best-sellers in 13 countries from Japan to the Faroe Islands. No one, other than the Americans, has complained about the nudity, she said.

And so, the Munich-based author continues her successful career with her principles intact and the innocence of the children of the United States spared. At least until the next class trip to a museum.

Source: Deutsche Welle
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Walter Hinteler
 
  1  
Reply Fri 13 Jul, 2007 05:25 am
Report by Spiegel (in Englisch)
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Letty
 
  1  
Reply Fri 13 Jul, 2007 06:23 am
Will this get me in trouble, Walter?

http://j-walkblog.com/images/tvdance5a.gif
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Walter Hinteler
 
  1  
Reply Fri 13 Jul, 2007 06:26 am
No idea, Letty, but it seems to be American origin.
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Letty
 
  1  
Reply Fri 13 Jul, 2007 06:36 am
It is. That's our Veep, Cheney. Love it! He's the power behind the throne of King George.
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Thomas
 
  1  
Reply Fri 13 Jul, 2007 09:35 am
Letty wrote:
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.
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Dorothy Parker
 
  1  
Reply Fri 13 Jul, 2007 09:46 am
Walter!

I'm so shocked.

Shocked
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cjhsa
 
  1  
Reply Fri 13 Jul, 2007 09:46 am
Maybe it's because the nude chick looks like Rosie O'Donut doing yoga. They should replace it with Pam Anderson as Stripperella.

http://www.digitallyobsessed.com/cover_art3/stripperella01.jpg
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