Surely you’ve heard of the Tennessee board of education’s decision to ban the graphic novel Maus, an account of the Holocaust. This board of education cited dubious claims of mouse nudity and profanity as to why children should not have their precious little eyes tainted by its pages. The grown ups in the room know it’s just another attempt to eradicate history and control information.
Let’s swing on back to our upcoming BOE election because it’s super important to be vigilant about these local elections. So, ICYMI, Cindy Rose is a book banner and we have all kinds of fun receipts!
We would like to take you back to 2018! In the post linked above, you will see some emails that Cindy wrote to FCPS about books (that she admittedly didn’t read!) that she didn’t want available to our students! The subject of those books apparently don’t fit reality as she sees it, so no child should be allowed to read them! I mean come on folks do you really want someone like Cindy deciding what is and isn’t appropriate for your kids to read? Especially when she didn’t even bother to read the books she’s complaining about?
In the above mentioned post, you will also get to see a Facebook post about the children’s book, Click Clack Moo! (And yes we really did contact the author!) She’s afraid that the cows and chickens in the story demanding the farmer give them blankets when they are cold will cause all the little children to revolt! Against what isn’t clear.
Cindy also has some new thoughts about the FCPS hiring process:
A book that really affected one of your Lady Yokels when she was a wee lass was a book called Mexicali Soup.
In this book family members, one by one, come into the kitchen asking the matriarch to remove an item from the soup. At dinner time the family is shocked to learn the menu consists of only hot water. If everyone wants to remove something they don’t like, we are eventually left with nothing.
Frequently banned author, Stephen King, has lots of good thoughts about what do about these book banners (It’s long but well worth it):
First, to the kids: There are people in your home town who have taken certain books off the shelves of your school library. Do not argue with them; do not protest; do not organize or attend rallies to have the books put back on their shelves. Don’t waste your time or your energy. Instead, hustle down to your public library, where these frightened people’s reach must fall short in a democracy, or to your local bookstore, and get a copy of what has been banned. Read it carefully and discover what it is your elders don’t want you to know. In many cases you’ll finish the banned book in question wondering what all the fuss was about. In others, however, you will find vital information about the human condition. It doesn’t hurt to remember that John Steinbeck, J.D. Salinger, and even Mark Twain have been banned in this country’s public schools over the last 20 years.
Second, to the parents in these towns: There are people out there who are deciding what your kids can read, and they don’t care what you think because they are positive their ideas of what’s proper and what’s not are better, clearer than your own. Do you believe they are? Think carefully before you decide to accord the book-banners this right of cancellation, and remember that they don’t believe in democracy but rather in a kind of intellectual autocracy. If they are left to their own devices, a great deal of good literature may soon disappear from the shelves of school libraries simply because good books — books that make us think and feel — always generate controversy.
If you are not careful and diligent about defending the right of your children to read, there won’t be much left, especially at the junior-high level where kids really begin to develop a lively life of the mind, but books about heroic boys who come off the bench to hit home runs in the bottom of the ninth and shy girls with good personalities who finally get that big prom date with the boy of their dreams. Is this what you want for your kids, keeping in mind that controversy and surprise — sometimes even shock — are often the whetstone on which young minds are sharpened?
Third, to the other interested citizens of these towns: Please remember that book-banning is censorship, and that censorship in a free society is always a serious matter — even when it happens in a junior high, it is serious. A proposal to ban a book should always be given the gravest consideration. Book-banners, after all, insist that the entire community should see things their way, and only their way. When a book is banned, a whole set of thoughts is locked behind the assertion that there is only one valid set of values, one valid set of beliefs, one valid perception of the world. It’s a scary idea, especially in a society which has been built on the ideas of free choice and free thought.
Whoa! Those last few lines really say it all. We can’t let the book banners (and don’t forget about that slate she’s running with) on our board. Free thought and ideas, including critical examination of our nation’s history, are crucial in education. We’ll leave you with one last post we wrote a few months back: