Art, literature, liberty
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.
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.