Wednesday, April 17, 2019

6 of the Top 11 Most Challenged Books of 2018 on the ALA List Were Challenged Because They Included LGBTQ Characters and Themes

You know what we're fighting for? Inclusion. Equity. Respect. Celebration.

#1 on the ALA List of Most Challenged Books of 2018:
“George,” by Alex Gino
Reason: for including a transgender character

This is a lovely book, about a 3rd grader who wants to play Charlotte in the class play of Charlotte's web.

#2 “A Day in the Life of Marlon Bundo,” by Jill Twiss, illustrated by E. G. Keller
Reasons: for LGBTQIA+ content, political and religious viewpoints

The only one of these six I haven't yet read. Moving to the top of my list now.

#3 “Captain Underpants” series, written and illustrated by Dav Pilkey
Reasons: for including a same-sex couple, perceived as encouraging disruptive behavior

I cheered when, in the 12th book in this beloved series, the heroes visited their future selves and one of them was married to another man! (And George and Harold are still best friends.)

#5 “Drama,” written and illustrated by Raina Telgemeier
Reason: for LGBTQIA+ characters and themes

A wonderful middle grade graphic novel that included gay middle schoolers!

#10 “This Day in June,” by Gayle E. Pitman, illustrated by Kristyna Litten
Reason: for LGBTQIA+ content

A picture book about an LGBTQ Pride Parade and celebration!

#11 “Two Boys Kissing,” by David Levithan
Reason: for LGBTQIA+ content

A YA novel based on true events, of two teen boys aiming to set a new Guinness World Record.

My editorial thoughts;

Really, if adults don't like a specific book, they can make the choice to not share that book with their own children. But when they start to say that a book isn't right for ANY child, that it should be removed from a library's collection, then they've gone too far.

Children need these books that include Queer characters and themes. Yes, the LGBTQ kids and teens. And the heterosexual and cis-gendered kids and teens, too. Because every child needs to know that LGBTQ people are part of our world. And if we queer people aren't in the books kids and teens can find in the library, that just makes them feel alone, unwanted, and ashamed of being their authentic selves. It makes them afraid.

I know.

There were no books with positive portrayals of LGBTQ people when I was growing up. And that was how I felt.

That more than half of the books on the ALA's Most Challenged (a.k.a. Banned) Books list for 2018 were challenged because of their queer content tells us a lot about how far we still have to go as a society, especially with political leaders who foment hatred and fear of the 'other' -- including against LGBTQ people. Especially with so many people feeling emboldened to voice and act on their bigotry.

We need to stand up.

Shine our light.

And reflect the light of others. So let's read these books. Talk about these books. Buy these books. Ask for them from our libraries.

And let's aim for the day when we don't have books that get challenged. Until then, we resist. Together.

The light in me recognizes and acknowledges the light in you,

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