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I (Tatia) work in primary teacher education in the Netherlands and believe that this month’s theme of banned picturebooks will be of great interest for student teachers. Whereas student teachers will be aware of Dutch primary schools restricting picturebook choices for religious reasons, they may be unfamiliar with the concept of a national or international ban for a specific picturebook as it occurs, for example, in the US. My focus will lie on discovering banned picturebooks and establishing possible reasons.

I have chosen two banned picturebooks to share with student teachers. The first one is ‘Sylvester and the Magic Pebble’ written and illustrated by William Steig and published by Windmill Books/Simon & Schuster in 1969. The second one is ‘The Undefeated’ written by Alexander Kwame, illustrated by Kadir Nelson and published by Versify/Houghton Mifflin Harcourt in 2019. 50 years lie between these two Caldecott Medal winning publications.

‘Sylvester and the Magic Pebble’ is an anthropomorphic story featuring a donkey called Sylvester who likes to collect pebbles. One day Sylvester finds a magic pebble and after turning into a rock to avoid danger, he eventually returns to his usual self and is reunited with his family.