English Couple Withdraws Child From Nursery Over Controversial Children’s Book

Parents Protest Against Controversial Children's Book

Children's book: Grandad's Pride. Credit: HarryWoodgate.com

Is it possible for a children’s book to cross the line?

Will and Maria Taylor from west Hull made the bold decision to remove their daughter from Genesis Pre-School in North Road, following concerns about a children’s book titled ‘Grandad’s Pride,’ written and illustrated by Harry Woodgate, writes Hull Daily Mail.

The Taylors felt that the book contained inappropriate and sexualised images. Although a staff member had initially consulted Maria about the book’s content, it wasn’t until another parent pointed out the images that the couple voiced their concerns. Dissatisfied with the nursery’s initial response, they chose to withdraw their four-year-old daughter.

‘Age-Inappropriate’ Illustrations In Children’s Book

Will Taylor described two particular images in the book: ‘We identified two images of men who are partially naked in leather bondage gear. One has a leather cod-piece moulded tightly around his crotch along with garters running down his thighs. He also has a studded dog collar around his neck and knee-high boots. Both have various leather straps around their bodies and studs/spikes.’

He expressed his primary concern: ‘The main and most immediate concern is that children have been exposed to at least two age-inappropriate sexual or erotic images of a man in what can only be reasonably described as ‘bondage/fetish/BDSM’ gear.’

Father Criticises Poor Response From Nursery

The Taylors were taken aback by the nursery’s justification for the pictures. Will shared his surprise, saying that when they approached the nursery about the book, they had hoped for an immediate apology. Instead, the person in charge of safeguarding defended the content.

The staff argued that children wouldn’t perceive the images as erotic. They believed the images merely portrayed ‘dress-up.’ This disagreement led to a significant erosion of trust, prompting the Taylors to remove their daughter from the nursery.

Will stressed that a child’s inability to comprehend doesn’t make it acceptable to expose them to inappropriate imagery. He pointed out that those in charge of child protection seem to be making judgments based on whether a child can identify potential harm. He firmly believes that a child’s perception shouldn’t dictate what’s deemed suitable or safe, irrespective of their comprehension level.

He also acknowledged potential criticism, clarifying his stance: ‘The staff felt I was being bigoted and I was not having that,’ he said. ‘I have volunteered at both Hull and York Pride events. Some people will try and twist this and make me out to be some kind of homophobe. But if we want equality and understanding then we should respect certain boundaries.’

While the Taylors praised other LGBTQ+ books at the nursery for promoting tolerance and respect, they felt ‘Grandad’s Pride’ went too far.

The trustees of the nursery declined to comment publicly. However, they confirmed in a response to the Taylors that the book had been removed. They also stated: ‘As Trustees, we agree that the images in the book Grandpa’s Pride are not age appropriate. This book has been removed from Genesis and a comprehensive audit of all other books has taken place to ensure all books, whilst celebrating culture and diversity, are age appropriate.’

Glowing Reviews For Woodgate’s Books

  • ‘Grandad’s Pride’ and another of Woodgate’s earlier children’s book, ‘Grandad’s Camper,’ have earned praise from reviewers.
  • The Bookseller: ‘Touching and tender, this is a delight for all readers, regardless of age.’
  • School Library Journal: ‘The book reflects on an aspect of mature gay life, a piercing sense of loss, and in the child, of the possibilities still to be found. For the hope for new adventures, and the glimpse of intergenerational kindness and understanding, this lovely book should be on every shelf.’
  • Publishers Weekly: ‘Bustling, bright-hued images with a rainbow motif show the intersectionally diverse community-portraying people of varying abilities, body types, gender expressions, and skin tones-preparing for the event, giving each page a celebratory vibe. In this gladly intergenerational view of Pride, Woodgate’s sequel to Grandad’s Camper offers a familial portrait that twines past and present.’
  • Booktrust: The sequel to the Waterstones Children’s Book Prize winning Grandad’s Camper is full of verve and beautiful illustration from author-illustrator Harry Woodgate, with a simple but meaningful story about the history of Pride, and the importance of supporting inclusive communities.’

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Written by

John Ensor

Originally from Doncaster, Yorkshire, John now lives in Galicia, Northern Spain with his wife Nina. He is passionate about news, music, cycling and animals.


    • Bob

      23 August 2023 • 13:13

      Well done the Taylors. Far to much of this ‘Pride’ rubbish being pushed in our faces, especially when it comes to the impressionable young.

      • Renato Besomi

        24 August 2023 • 17:19

        You are right Yes 100%.

    • Naimah Yianni

      24 August 2023 • 15:52

      Good for them.. Saying that it´s OK to put images of a bloke in bondage gear in front of a 4 year old is like saying its OK to sit them in front of porn. Clearly it isn´t. And why the need to push all of this? It´s pure perversion and the teachers and should be sacked. If people cant see what is wrong with this then they are brainwashed or demented. leave our kids alone. 4 years olds (or 8 or 10 year olds) dont need to have gay sex or any other sort of sex rammed down their throats. Its immoral and repulsive

    • Concha

      25 August 2023 • 17:55

      There’s a word for subjecting children to overt sexuality from a young age: grooming. Normalising deviant, sexual behaviour is a trick often used by those who want to abuse… ….
      At such a young age a child’s mind is very plastic:- plasticity peaks in childhood, the time when their brains are primed to change in response to experiences. There are two kinds of plasticity: experience-expectant, and experience-dependent. In experience-expectant plasticity, external inputs, during critical developmental windows, guide normal (or abnormal, as this is also the age where Narcissistic Personality Disorder can be caused) development of the brain.
      A child can develop normally and healthily in families where parents are the same sex, just as they can be damaged in classical, heterosexual families. No one should make such a big deal about sexuality to children, and the sooner it’s (homosexuality, heterosexuality, bi-sexuality… whatever) accepted as normal, the better for everyone. A loving, stable family unit, that understands the needs of a growing human being – that’s what all children need, and deserve. Be proud of being a good person, regardless of who you love!

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