The Little Red Schoolbook

“Nearly all the changes in which you’re allowed to participate are in things which aren’t very important. The real and difficult changes are those which give more and more people power to decide more and more things for themselves”

For those who don’t know Speechification, it’s an excellent little blog for fans of speech radio, podcasting the best bits of the UK’s Radio 4, and occasional things from the rest of the world. I’m one of the contributors, and I’ve just posted a 30 minute documentary that Bookkake readers will probably enjoy.

The Little Red Schoolbook, translated from the Dutch Danish and published in 1971, advised children about sex, drugs and how to assert their rights at school. It was subsequently banned in the UK as an obscene publication, but continued to be distributed by radical groups, becoming something of a cause celebre in the process. Wikipedia has more references on the history of the book – and you can pick up a copy on Abe, should you so desire. There’s also another good resource on the history of this fascinating little book here. Enjoy!

Posted January 9, 2009 by . Comments (5)


  1. Swedish, not Dutch. Nice weblog you have.

    # by Maarten, January 18, 2009

  2. Oh! It’s originally Danish.

    # by Maarten, January 18, 2009

  3. Oops – thank you for that, and for the kind comments.

    # by Bookkake, January 19, 2009

  4. i remember this book. the sex and drugs sections were frank and helpful to myself and several of my peers. but being a voracious reader, i got through those passages and found myself even more inspired by the chapters on student politics. using the little red schoolbook–given to me, incidentally, by my brother, 6 years my senior–we went about establishing a student council. this was the 6th grade. the year was either 1971 or 1972. the nightly news programs were full of death and mayhem, straight from vietnam to our minds. our teachers were helpful. my parents found it amusing. the obsession with the sex & drugs says more about the depravity & corruption of adults opposed to the book than about kids or the book’s adult supporters. kids loved it, as it was frank, and talked to us, rather than at us or down to us. i’d love to see it reprinted for today’s youth. a very helpful publication for the pubescent beings among us. a welcome antidote to the dictatorship of fundamentalism toward which we appear to be dangerously aimed.

    # by norman douglas, February 9, 2010

  5. I was given the book when I was 12 by my social worker stepmother. My mother had died. I went to a small country school. I loved the book and lent it to a schoolfriend. Her parents complained to the school that I had the book at school. Then, my schoolfriend and others, probably from the same church, were not allowed to be friends with me any more. I had been brought up that it was ok to share books. I didn’t know until later why I had become unacceptable. Considering the community, my age and naievity, I think it was ill conceived to give ofthe book. To have the rejection explained at the time would have helped me not take it so personally too.

    # by Kate, April 17, 2012

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