Banned Book Challenge – Olive’s Ocean

I recently read the children’s novel Olive’s Ocean by Kevin Henkes for the 2009 Banned Book Challenge. Some people found the book to be offensive due to language and because they felt it was “sexually explicit.” I think there were a few “damn it” moments (from the mouth of the father if memory serves). But it is a book for older children (bordering on the young adult genre). You hear the same (and sometimes worse) in PG movies and PG-13 movies. The protaganist is, if I recall correctly, 12 going on 13. So I don’t think it’s a big deal. At any rate, it is realistic (who’s never ever heard their mom or dad swear?). As for being “sexually explicit,” puh-leeze! A first kiss experience is a main plot point. Aside from that there’s this:

More kissing. Martha’s parents were standing by the sink–kissing and smiling and kissing and laughing and kissing. If Vince had been around he would have said that his parents were exhibiting MSB. Morning Sex Behavior.

“When they do it in the morning,” Vince had informed Martha earlier that summer during one of their nightly chats, “they’re all giggly and kissy and weird for at least an hour afterward. It’s unmistakable.”

If that’s “explicit” then there are 13 year old kids the world over reading books that are downright pornographic (Twilight series anybody?). Come on folks. You really find it offensive that puberty-aged youth are aware that their parents have sex? Do the people who find this objectionable wait until their kids are 18 to tell them where babies come from?

My official opinion? This book is harmless, completely unobjectionable (unless you’re the most uptight person in the world). And it’s pretty good.

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