‘How One Librarian Tried to Squash Goodnight Moon’

Dan Kois for Slate:

On Monday the New York Public Library, celebrating its 125th anniversary, released a list of the 10 most-checked-out books in the library’s history. The list is headed by a children’s book—Ezra Jack Keats’ masterpiece The Snowy Day—and includes five other kids’ books. The list also includes a surprising addendum: One of the most beloved children’s books of all time didn’t make the list because for 25 years it was essentially banned from the New York Public Library. Goodnight Moon, by Margaret Wise Brown, would have made the Top 10 list and might have topped it, the library notes, but for the fact that “influential New York Public Library children’s librarian Anne Carroll Moore disliked the story so much when it was published in 1947 that the Library didn’t carry it … until 1972.” Who was Anne Carroll Moore, and what was her problem with the great Goodnight Moon?

When I read stories like this, I think of the (often silent) gatekeepers in the food world that have helped shaped our culinary universe. Where would Impossible be if David Chang wasn’t the first to put it in his It-Spot, NYC restaurant Momofuku? Where would vegetables be if Pollan or Bitten weren’t politely advocating for them to fill our plates in the NYTimes? Would France or even Europe be exploring veggies if Alain Passard hadn’t made his 3-Michelin-starred L’Arpege go all vegetables in the early 2000s?

It’s hard to say, but it’s fun to think about.