Monday, September 24, 2018
"The Giving Tree" by Shel Silverstein
Removed from a locked reference collection at the Boulder Public Library. The book was locked away originally because the librarian considered it sexist.
-Banned Books: Challenging Our Freedom to Read by Robert P. Doyle
I remember reading The Giving Tree as a child, I believe when I was in the second grade, but the book had little impact on me. Like all of the other kids in my class, I often poured over Shel Silverstein's poetry. Naturally, when I found another book by him, I read it. I remember reading it, but the memory of what I read did not stick with me. Reading it as an adult is quite emotional. The book focuses on a tree and her love for a boy. Because she is a tree, there is little that she can do for the boy, but she gives him everything that she has to offer to make his life better and in doing so, she is happy. I can't help but relate this book back to motherhood. I know that I would do just about anything to help my son succeed and to bring him happiness. I see the motherly aspect of the tree and how she will do anything for her boy, even through it means reducing herself to practically nothing. Even at the end of the book, when it seems that she has nothing left to give, she still has just what the boy needs.
I don't know if I like this book. I think it is beautiful but at the same time it is very sad. I hate seeing the tree give and give and the boy receive without every thanking the tree for her sacrifice. I think my issue comes from the fact that I am not sure who the target audience is. Clearly this book didn't stay with me as I was growing up so I'm not certain if it is for children. I don't think I would have appreciated getting it as a baby shower gift, which I know it often is. Even though it is a picture book, I really don't see it having an audience with children at all. It seems like the kind of book that would only resonate with someone who has a higher level of maturity. Maybe I'm wrong, but either way, this particular book is not for me.