In 2018, Marlon Bundo’s A Day in the Life of the Vice President was released. It was a children’s book written by the Vice President Mike Pence’s daughter, Charlotte Pence, and illustrated by her mother, Second Lady Karen Pence. The story follows the Pence’s real life bunny Marlon Bundo as he spends the day following the Vice President on his duties. In response to Mike Pence’s LGBT attitude, the writers behind the show Last Week Tonight with John Oliver decided to put out their own children’s book about the First Bunny, one that was inclusive to all sexual orientations.
Pence’s children’s book was released to raise money for Tracey’s Kids, an art therapy program for children as well as The A21 Campaign, a charity which works to end human trafficking. The parody version was released as A Day in the Life of Marlon Bundo and promoted diverse sexualities and it’s proceeds went to The Trevor Project, which works to prevent suicide among young members of the LGBTQ community and AIDS United, a charity which seeks to help the AIDS epidemic in the United States.
Both books were well received upon their respective releases and the Pence family actually reacted positively towards the other book. Charlotte Pence said in an interview that John Oliver’s book was “contributing to charities that I think we can all get behind… I’m all for it.” A post was published on the real Marlon Bundo’s Instagram account which read: “Not gonna lie, I do look pretty fly in a bow tie. The only thing better than one bunny book for charity is…TWO bunny books for charity.”
However, it seems not everyone has been as accepting of John Oliver’s children’s book as the Pences. As The Guardian reports, Last Week Tonight With John Oliver Presents A Day in the Life of Marlon Bundo was one of the books most objected to books of 2018 at US public libraries. The best-seller came in second in the American Library Associations list of most challenged books of 2018, with many taking issue with its LGBTQ-themes and political message.
A Day in the Life of Marlon Bundo is credited to Last Week Tonight’s staff writer Jill Twiss and reached the No. 1 bestseller spot on Amazon upon its publication. Despite being extremely popular, the book has been strongly challenged and the ALA defines the term ‘challenged’ as any book which receives a “formal, written complaint filed with a library or school requesting that materials be removed because of content or appropriateness.”
The most challenged book of 2018 was Alex Gino’s George, a middle-grade novel about a transgender child. Other books included The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas, and the Captain Underpants series by Dav Pilkey. Books often included on the list are To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee and the Harry Potter books by J.K. Rowling.
Just press play and drag your screen around to look around the entire bookshop, and make sure you have the volume up, as Neil is telling us all about the features inside. Listen out for the Pratchett tribute too!
The photograph and frame were owned by Du Maurier’s close friend, Maureen Baker-Munton, who had kept over 40 years worth of correspondence between them. After Baker-Munton’s son put the collection up for auction the letters were discovered by Roddy Lloyd, the auctioneer responsible for selling the items.
The auctioneer was cataloguing the archive when he decided to look more closely at the photograph of young Du Maurier at the beach. “We were going through the last box of documents on my kitchen table, when for some reason I decided to take the picture out to have a better look. When I took it out of the frame, out popped these poems. It looks like they’re from around the 1920s.”
The ring was brought to jewellery expert Geoffrey Munn on the BBC’s Antiques Roadshow by an unnamed woman who claimed it belonged to her late father-in-law.
The ring contains an inscription inside, which bears the name of the author, and the date of her death- 1855. The excited woman explained: “I’ve got goosebumps now thinking about it. It’s got a hinge on it, and inside there’s plaited hair, I think it may be the hair of Charlotte Brontë!”
Geoffrey Munn told the lucky Antiques Roadshow visitor that he had ‘very little reason to doubt’ the ring’s authenticity.
The list, created by Blackwell’s booksellers, publishers, authors, and friends of the bookshop will mark an all year celebration of the anniversary of the bookshops.