Art, lit­er­a­ture, lib­erty

The Glengarry News - - The Opinion Page - At­tic News A Light in the A Lord of the Flies, Catcher in the Rye, Huck­le­berry Finn, The Hand­maid’s Tale, Cat’s Cra­dle, Go Ask Alice, Three, And Tango Makes

BY STEVEN WAR­BUR­TON

Staff Way back in 1981, the late Amer­i­can poet Shel Sil­ver­stein pub­lished a book called

that con­tained a poem called Lit­tle Abi­gail and the Beau­ti­ful Pony. The tit­u­lar char­ac­ter spied a pony while driv­ing with her par­ents. She asked them to buy her the pony and they re­fused and the lit­tle girl went home and died be­cause she didn’t get the pony.

To most peo­ple, it’s a silly lit­tle bit of dark child­hood fan­tasy but, ev­i­dently, it of­fended some peo­ple so much that the book was banned in a num­ber of Amer­i­can schools be­cause it pro­moted dis­obe­di­ence, sui­cide, and even can­ni­bal­ism.

A Light in the At­tic was just one of dozens of book cov­ers on dis­play at the Glen­garry Sports Palace last Wed­nes­day even­ing for a paint night that cel­e­brated Free­dom to Read Week. The work­shop co­or­di­na­tor, Sylvie Juteau, ex­plained that paint­ing the cov­ers of these once-banned tomes is a great way to re­mem­ber that we can read what­ever we like.

For Alexan­dria res­i­dent Bobi Leutschaft Poitras, Light in the At­tic piece.

“It’s one of my favourite books and we love po­etry in our house,” she said, adding that she is fa­mil­iar with the story of poor Lit­tle Abi­gail and her longed for beau­ti­ful pony.

“I had four kids and they all loved that poem and none of them killed them­selves be­cause they didn’t get a pony,” she said.

Other avail­able se­lec­tions in­cluded was an easy choice for her mas­ter-

Kurt Von­negut’s and even which pur­ported to be the real life di­ary of a 15-year-old drug ad­dict.

About half a dozen peo­ple showed up for the event. One of them was Alexan­dria’s Jen McDon­ald, who chose to paint the cover of

a 2005 chil­dren’s book about two male pen­guins who form a fam­ily to­gether. It was banned be­cause of sym­pa­thetic views to­ward ho­mo­sex­u­al­ity and same-sex mar­riage.

Ms. McDon­ald says she chose the book be­cause she agrees with its mes­sage.

STEVEN WAR­BUR­TON PHOTO

COVER PAINTER: Alexan­dria’s Jen McDon­ald paints the cover of the 2005 chil­dren’s book, dur­ing a re­cent paint night cel­e­brat­ing Free­dom to Read Week.

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