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The mayor of Venice has banned these wonderful children’s books from kindergartens

AP Photo/Kathy Willens
Radical reads?
  • Annalisa Merelli
By Annalisa Merelli

Senior reporter based in New York City

Published Last updated This article is more than 2 years old.

Kindergarteners in Venice are no longer be allowed to read Qual è il segreto di papà? (What’s dad’s secret?) or Rosso micione (Big red cat).

How come?

Because according to the newly elected (link in Italian) conservative mayor of Venice, Luigi Brugnaro, these are just a couple of the children’s books that “touch upon topics that should be handled not by the school, but by the families.” Two days after being sworn in, Brugnaro has ordered their ban from municipal kindergartens.

The titles he is contesting are stories that set out to combat gender or racial stereotypes, and promote gay rights. The mayor calls these “gender books,” (link in Italian) and enjoys the support of groups that protect the “traditional family.” Other titles will be evaluated during the summer and possibly brought back to the schools:

Here are some of the problematic titles:

Rosso micione (Big red cat), Éric Battut

A cat finds an egg and wants to eat it, but he decides to wait since the newly hatched bird will be a bigger meal. Instead, when the bird comes out they become friends.

Piccolo blu e piccolo giallo (Little blue and little yellow), Leo Lionni

Little Blue and Little Yellow are best friends, but one day they can’t find each other. When they finally do, they give each other such a big hug that they turn green!

Qual è il segreto di papà? (What’s dad’s secret?), Francesca Pardi and Desideria Guicciardini

When their divorced dad starts acting strange, the kids worry he has something bad to hide. But—what a relief—he’s only in love! With Luca, a nice man who loves pasta and has a motorbike.

Sono io il più bello! (I am the most beautiful!), Mario Ramos

Everyone thinks the wolf is the most beautiful animal because of his confident, charming manners—except the little dragon, who thinks his dad is more beautiful because he taught him to spit fire.

Io non sono come gli altri (I’m not like the others), Janik Coat

There’s the hippo that doesn’t like bathing in mud but would rather do so in a jacuzzi, and a vegetarian piranha—the animals of this book are all a bit special.

Piccolo uovo (Little egg), Francesca Pardi, Altan

This little egg doesn’t want to be born because it doesn’t know what its family is going to look like. So it begins a journey to know families of all shapes and colors, and learns that are all wonderful.

Forte come un orso (Strong like a bear), Katrin Stangl

A book that illustrates different human characteristics comparing them to animal qualities (big like an elephant, hungry like a wolf).

Ninna nanna per una pecorella (Lullaby for a little lamb), Eleonora Bellini and Massimo Caccia

The little lamb gets lost in the woods in the dark. The night is scary but she finds comfort in a wolf cub with very big bright eyes, who becomes her friend.

📬 A periodic dispatch from the annual session of the United Nations General Assembly in NYC.

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