Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn

Huck Finn left, Tom Sawyer right.
Last Thursday, I found a beautiful copy of Huckleberry Finn on sale at Anthropologie. It's not there anymore, but I found the same copy at Amazon. I was planning on waiting to give it to the boys for their birthday.  I've never read it before, but I knew it was a classic story about a boy getting into a lot of mischief. A perfect gift for Oscar and Owen. Especially Owen.

I had the Anthro bag hanging on my closet door knob and had forgotten about it. Then, last night, Oscar took the book from the bag and said, "What's this?" It was wrapped in tissue paper just like a present (thanks Angela!). I was sick all day, and so the kids had been cooped up in the house (it's spring break). I figured since we weren't going to get out of the house, we might as well as read about an adventure.

As I starting read it, I remembered Huckleberry Finn is always on the banned booked list. And I can kind-of see why. In the first chapter, it talks fondly about smoking and uses the "n-word" about forty times. I couldn't even say it (censorship!), so I replaced it "slave". Reason is, I don't want my four year old using it unknowingly.

As I continued reading the book, I starting thinking about this article I read in New York Family by Eric Messinger. He wrote about his decision to let his 11-year old daughter watch the Hunger Games. She had enjoyed the books and had been planning for weeks to watch the movie with friends. Eric knew the movie was going to be violent (the plot is about a televised fight to the death between kids!), but believes  "kids handle information that works for them". I agree. He concludes the article by writing:

I checked in with her about seeing The Hunger Games, and she didn’t think it was such a big deal and that she could always turn away at parts that seemed too violent—and she was really looking forward to seeing it with her friends. 
Rather than question her about its post-apocalyptic vision, I left the conversation there.
Maybe some of the content in Huckleberry Finn is not be age appropriate for my kids. I'm just banking on the fact that they will look forward to spending time together and everything else (racism, trouble making, smoking, etc) will go over their heads. More than anything, Owen has been more annoyed that I was reading it with a southern accent. He kept saying, "Can you stop saying it like that? Why are you talking like that? Stop, mom! Read normal." I ignored him.

Ever see this Lewis CK bit about Huckleberry Finn? So funny. It has tons of profanity, racist language, and makes reference to a lewd act.  Mark Twain would be proud.
*All photos by Lesley of Kensington Blue*
Lesley sent these pictures to me in both monochrome and color.
I can't decide which version I like better.

Decide for yourself after the jump!

Thanks again for the pictures Lesley!


  1. In that middle picture, Owen looks more like Ella than Oscar!

  2. Oh man, I love that you were reading with a southern accent. And I love that Owen was annoyed with you.

  3. adore the treatment on the photos!

  4. Your boys are too cute! Reading books and playing along with accents and voices and such really does the book so much better! Owen sounds like quite the opinionated kid! I love their outfits. If/when I ever have children, I'm totally going to accessorize them with suspenders and vests! That is the most adorable thing I've ever seen.

    xx Olivia

  5. My family watched a lot of Young Frankenstein when I was little. I watched it as an adult and was SHOCKED at all the innuendo! I couldn't believe my parents let us watch it! But I think if kids don't get something, they just let it slide right over their heads. (Though I will admit, sexual material is different from racism or trouble-making.) And if they do notice, then I guess you hope they ask questions so you can start a dialogue about important issues.

  6. oh, your boys are darling. i read the book when i was young and really enjoyed it!

  7. i love how you trust your kids - i think it's so awesome.

    i like the black and white photos, btw!

  8. Both mono and color are amazing. (If it were me and I was going to hang a couple, I think I'd lean toward mono.)

    I can only compare this reading the original Curious George book to my kids. You know, the one about a monkey who is captured and taken from his habitat, given pipes to smoke, and landed in a zoo. :) Trenton is always not super curious about those pipes and a little sad for the monkey! haha

  9. Those pictures are so sweet! I think I like the monochrome ones because you don't notice the background as much.

  10. I like the color, I think the black and white is a bit confusing. I love this, and laughted out loud about the n-word 40 times, I had been confused on why this was banned.

  11. How strange ! When I first saw this pictures of the boys on the egg hunt post, I immediately thought they look like Hack Finn in those outfits and hats :) As for the book, it hit my heart and I think I read it more than once when I was at about their age (but a girl)

  12. Haha! So funny about Owen being annoyed/embarrassed by your reading in an accent! I used to nanny for twin boys and when I read to them, i gave the characters distinct voices... " ugh, you don't have to read like that", one of them would always say. I ignored him, too. They should be so lucky!!! Enjoy the reading, and feel better!

  13. When i'm a mom, I want to look at your blog for parenting advice. I feel like you're such an amazing mom, i'm going to be referencing your blog constantly. I wanna be just like you when I grow up!

  14. My mom read those books to us as kids. I wonder if they were edited? I know I enjoyed them.

  15. I like the pics that are in color:)

  16. I just found your blog this week and I just want you to know how much joy, comfort, and excitement it has brought me. I have an 18 month old daughter and just found out this week that I am pregnant with identical twins (which I believe are boys) The Dr. sent me and my husband home worried sick about all the risks and complications with identical twins etc etc etc..... I search the internet to only find bad things and then I saw this blog and it was all the sunshine I needed. I was a mess until I came across your blog and it has totally changed my perspective. I am not focusing on the risks but rather the pure joy that I see in your family. Thank you so much for making such a wonderful, inspiring blog for others to look at. Thank you! You are an amazing, wonderful mother!
    Suzette Baird

    1. Suzette, you'll be fine! My cousin and his wife have a daughter who will turn 4 in two weeks, and (fraternal) twin girls who will turn 1 in three weeks. Their mother is teeny and the twins were about a month premature, but they are both fine and only spent a little bit of time in NICU. They're all so funny and sweet and have such different personalities, and it's especially sweet to watch the older daughter dote on "her" babies. Twins run in our family and all have turned out wonderful :) Best wishes to you.


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