September 22-28th is banned books week, sponsored by the American Library Association. This week is designed to bring together readers of all types, in support of the freedom to seek and share ideas, even those some may consider unorthodox or unpopular. Books that feature a different point of view on history, mature language or themes, or complex subject matter have been challenged or banned. This includes our title featured this month which overcame its ban to become as classroom favorite.
William Steig’s Sylvester and the Magic Pebble won the Caldecott Medal (1970), and was banned for its portrayal of police officers as pigs. However the story really focuses on Sylvester, a donkey that collects pebbles. One day Sylvester comes across a pebble that grants wishes. At just that moment, a lion scares him, and in an instant of quick thinking Sylvester wishes himself into a rock. Unfortunately, the magic pebble falls off the rock, and Sylvester is stuck. The story then takes off to follow Sylvester’s attempt to change back into his true self and his parents’ search for their son. This is a great story about identity and appreciation for the power that is within all of us.
Ages 6-10, grade K-3
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