Ban It. Pan It. But Don’t Ignore It.

As we wave farewell to Banned Book Week 2014,  and move into October--the season of the most widely banned holiday of them all, HALLOWEEN,

 I’d like to share what sounds like the start of a joke: I was sitting in the Candlewick Press booth one day when 2 librarians walked up . . .

Not These Two--Children's Librarians! (Who Knew there was a TV Series?)

Not These Two--Children's Librarians! (Who Knew there was a TV Series?)

I smiled cheerily, and Vanna White-ish-ly motioned toward the picture book on display. 

“This is my newest book,” I gushed, “Isn’t it adorable!”

"Would you like to take a look at it?"

 “Feel free to take a few NO BITE pins,” I offered.

“A bookmark? Maybe a NO BITE sticker?”





The two librarians leaned in for a peek at the cover, then jumped back, shaking their heads.
No, no,” They told me.

“I’m sure it’s very nice,” one offered. “But . . . 

We don’t buy that kind of book.

The book was Vampire Baby, a picture book illustrated by Paul Meisel. The event TLA: Texas Library Association 2013 Annual Conference. 

These weren't the only librarians who hurried past and/or tisk-tisked disapprovingly at Vampire Baby. (I think a few may actually have made a special trip past the booth just so they could cast dispersion.) 

What were they afraid of? That adorable Tootie-Wootie was going to jump off the cover and bite them? That Vampirism was contagious? That children exposed to it might suddenly sprout fangs? Or maybe, horror of horrors, they might actually . . . like it???

While it sounds like a joke, it’s not a laughing matter.

Later, at the Texas Blue Bonnet Award Luncheon, after one table-mate actually squealed with delight when she learned Vampire Baby was mine!—my Rock Star Moment—I learned why Vampire Baby was shunned. That same librarian who had squealed, later apologized because while she would happily be buying copies for herself, her children, and her friends, she could not buy it for her school library. Why?

Turns out the word “Vampire” is taboo in many libraries—school and otherwise. And in school book fairs and clubs, such as Scholastic. So, rather than buying Vampire Baby, rather than reading it, rather than even looking inside, librarians at those institutions ignore it, pretend it doesn’t exist. Sound familiar?

It took me back to a long ago Fourth of July Weekend when after sharing a jolly holiday with friends at a cabin they had rented on Oklahoma’s Grand Lake, we decided to book ourselves a cabin for the upcoming Labor Day weekend. The proprietress happily passed me a registration for to fill out, read as far as my name, then smiled politely as she declined my booking, saying “I’m sure you are very nice people, but you are not our kind of people.”  

Ironic, isn't it, that time of “Inclusivity” and “Celebrating Diversity” Vampire Baby, a teething story, a sibling story, a story of a brother learning to accept his sister’s “differences” and ultimately embrace and defend her, fangs and all, rather than being embraced or challenged,  is ignored.

Frankly, I don’t blame them.  If I were a children’s librarian, I’d probably do the same thing. (Although I’d like to think I wouldn't.) As delightful as Vampire Baby is—and it sooooo is—if  I knew adding it to my library’s picture book collection guaranteed me having to defend it, fill out more paperwork, perhaps pull it from the shelves anyway, I probably wouldn't buy it either. (The tots won’t know the difference. . . ) So much easier to ignore it and hope it goes away…

I wouldn’t be alone in this thinking, it seems. In a Google search of “Banned Picture Books,” the last picture book listed is And Tango Makes Three, published in 2005! 

Does this mean the last offensive to some faction picture book published was 9 years ago????

Of course you can't compare   Vampire Baby   to   And Tango Makes Three . . . 

Of course you can't compare Vampire Baby to And Tango Makes Three . . . 

 . . . Not until you've read IT!

 . . . Not until you've read IT!









Here’s to Banned Books! And Banning Books!. Being banned is so much better than being ignored.

Do me a favor: Ban it if you must. Pan it if you will. But, first, READ IT! (Or at least listen.)

I’ll make it easy for you. Here’s the Link to VAMPIRE BABY Author Read-Aloud

If you decide it's offensive, go ahead, BAN IT!  (I double-dog dare you...)

If you decide it’s worthwhile, and you’d like a chance to WIN FREE BOOKS FOR YOURSELF AND YOUR LIBRARY, enter the I Vant My Vampire Baby Contest. HERE’S HOW!

The views expressed here are strictly mine. The do not reflect those of Candlewick Press, Paul Meisel, Scholastic Bookfairs or Vampires other than Tootie.

Vampire Baby Halloween Reveal

So I lied...  

But this is the truth: There are 3 brand spanking new--autographed--copies of VAMPIRE BABY waiting to be won and as of this posting only 30 people entered the I VANT MY VAMPIRE BABY contest.   Here are the Contest Details

Translation: Chances of winning are super good. . .

It's Halloween. Go for it. Take a Chance. You could win a treat! 

But first . . .  

Groceries Anyone? 

Groceries Anyone? 

We like Halloween!
 We dress up. We Trick or Treat. We like it so much that one year, we had Halloween in July.

The Fondren's of Oz

The Fondren's of Oz

My BFF Valerie and I in High School. Thinking back, our costumes reflect our personalities, even back then. Valerie always was the nice one . . .  

My BFF Valerie and I in High School. Thinking back, our costumes reflect our personalities, even back then. Valerie always was the nice one . . .  

From 6th grade on, my BFF Valerie and I took Halloween seriously. We'd start a couple of months before creating costumes. We always took her baby brother Sean with us, so we'd create his costume, too. One year we were a pair of dice--Sean was the Joker.


We were trick-or-treating along in our huge dice boxes when a couple of pranksters pushed us over and sent us flailing ala Scout in her ham costume.

Believe you, me, if I'd been fast enough, I would have happily sunk my teeth into those no-good-nicks...

Lexi & Ryan Score! 

Lexi & Ryan Score! 

My grandson Bennett is holding with tradition.   Here's Vampire Baby!

My grandson Bennett is holding with tradition. Here's Vampire Baby!



#1 Confessions of a Baby Vampire

In keeping with the contest, daily--from Oct 15 thru 31st, I will post a true confession of a Vampire here on my blog, Kelly's Fishbowl. Please join the fun and share your Vampire Baby anecdotes. Enter the Contest as many times as you like--watch the trailer, post a comment, your entered to win! It's that easy!!!

Confession of a Baby Vampire #1 

I didn't have Vampire fangs. But I was a biter. I bit my big brother, Joe. I bit my mother. And one day, when my grandfather, Poppy, came to pick me up at school, he found my teacher in tears. Why? Because I bit and kicked her... Then I climbed to the top of the monkey bars I wouldn't come down . . .  

Whoops! I didn't mean to hurt her....honest!

Whoops! I didn't mean to hurt her....honest!

The "I Vant My Vampire Baby" Book Trailer Contest--is NOW!!! 

Here's how: View the Vampire Baby by Kelly Bennett book trailer on Youtube. Leave a comment. You're entered to win you're very own authographed copy of the book. It's that easy! 

Here are the Contest Details!  


I Vant My Vampire Baby! Contest Details

Just in time for Halloween...

Enter now to become one of 3 lucky winners in the

I Vant My VAMPIRE BABY contest!

Prizes include an autographed copy of VAMPIRE BABY by Kelly Bennett for your little ghost or goblin – along with fun VAMPIRE BABY swag such as bookmark, postcard, and fangs.

It’s easy to enter, here’s what you do:


1) Check out the VAMPIRE BABY book trailer on YouTube 

2) Post a comment about the book trailer on that page (below the trailer)

3) You’re entered! It’s just that easy!!

 Don’t miss out – be sure to enter today...and tell your friends!!

The contest will run from  10/15 to midnight 10/31/13! Three winners being selected and posted on Facebook at Kelly Bennett Books and in the book trailer comments on 11/1/13. Be sure to check for your name to see if you’re one of the 3 winners!

Click to view: VAMPIRE BABY book trailer on YouTube 

Happy Viewing!


Warning: VAMPIRE BABY is coming . . .

Tootie has fangs! And she knows how to use them...

It happens overnight: little sister Tootie goes from cuddly, ga-ga-googoo, I-want-my-ba-ba baby to . . .vampire baby. Now she’s sinking her pointy fangs into everything -- furniture, toys, and especially her big brother ("Youch, Tootie! No bite!"). Mom insists that it’s just a phase, but Tootie’s brother knows better. Just look at her hairline! Or the fact that all her favorite foods are red, blood red! . . .

VAMPIRE BABY is fanged, dangerous, and crawling your way this July.