Fond du Lac School Rejects Book Challenge

19 Feb

The American Civil Liberties Union of Wisconsin applauds a book reconsideration committee of the Fond du Lac Theisen Middle School for voting unanimously in support of keeping a book from being banned from their school library this week.

“One of Those Hideous Books Where the Mother Dies” by Sonya Sones is recognized as being age-appropriate in youth literature peer reviews for 12-year-olds, an average age for sixth graders. According to a WISN-TV report, statements by the school librarian defending the book selection and a letter from the book’s author read by Superintendent Jim Sebert were among the majority of support given to keeping the book in the library collection. Sones is no stranger to controversy as some of her other publications have been on the banned books list in the past.

The ACLU of Wisconsin also recognizes the bravery and leadership of 13-year-old Shelby Berg for originally suggesting the book be added to her library and for defending the book in the recent challenge. The effort to protect peer-reviewed, age-appropriate youth literature in Fond du Lac is not over: six more titles will be individually considered by the committee for withdrawal from the library shelves.

This weekend the ACLU of Wisconsin will honor West Bend, WI activists who successfully fought back censorship in their public library. The William Gorham Rice Civil Libertarians of the Year recognition will be awarded at the ACLU of Wisconsin Bill of Rights Celebration to the West Bend Activists for Free Speech who stood up to book burners and censorship in their community.

The story got video coverage on FOX WLUK-TV in Green Bay and an article in the Oshkosh Northwestern details the software system that is now in place for parents to restrict what books their children can check out. Other coverage included a preview article and a hearing summary article in the Fond du Lac Reporter.

For more resources on the field of youth literature and how to effectively address book challenges, please contact the Children’s Cooperative Book Center at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. For updates on book challenges and censorship issues in Wisconsin, contact the ACLU of Wisconsin or join the Banned Books Reading Club on Facebook.

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