I’ve been working something up in honor of Banned Books Week, which starts at the end of next week. But this news item was worth passing along as a not-so-savory appetizer.
From Worth The Trip (a fantastic kids & teens book blog that’s been gracing my Queer Parenting Resources links list for a coupla weeks), we hear of a woman in Lewiston, ME who took it upon herself to decide what patrons at two area libraries ought not to read. Here’s the story.
Kathleen, at Worth The Trip, tells us that the woman
wrote to the directors of both libraries, telling them she was not going to return Itâ€™s Perfectly Normal by Robie H. Harris, and she enclosed a check for $20.95 to cover the cost of each book. She complained in her letter that the book had â€œamoral and abnormalâ€ contents.
We know what that means.
The book treats homosexuality as a normal part of human sexuality. In fact, both of Harrisâ€™s childrenâ€™s books about sex are exemplary in this regard. Thatâ€™s not always the case.
The only thing about this story that’s heartening is that it was newsworthy. And that the library director returned the check, and included a formal complaint form with which the woman could register her outrage.
It’s Perfectly Normal topped the American Library Association’s list of the most challenged books of 2005. Guess which book tops the ALA’s most challenged books list for 2006? I’ll give you a three word hint: gay penguin dads. You don’t have to be a literary critic to spot the common theme. And you don’t even need to be an elementary school graduate to know whose children are being persecuted in Lewiston, ME, in Evesham, NJ, and in every other community attacking curricula and books that acknowledge the existence of gay people and families headed by them.
All’s I can say is, I won’t let my kids be taught their families are “amoral”; not if I can help it. And I can’t imagine which LGBT parents wouldn’t say this too. As battles like these drag on (and we know they will), we will be calling on our hetero friends and allies in greater and greater numbers. I hope they see it as a matter of enlightened self-interest. I have to think they believe, as I do, that love is more powerful than hate.