Sunday, May 21, 2006

May Reason Prevail

A school board in Hernando County Florida has placed ASIF! Member Maryrose Wood’s novel, Sex Kittens and Horn Dawgs Fall in Love on a list.

A committee, appointed by the school district’s superintendent will review the list--which includes titles by Barbara Kingsolver and Jean Auel--and decide whether Wood’s book will be purchased for the Nature Coast Technical High School library. Sex Kittens has been described by School Library Journal as "squeaky-clean" and appropriate for readers in grade six and up. Commonsense Media, a non-partisan, not-for-profit organization, which seeks to “provide trustworthy information and tools, as well as an independent forum, so that families can have a choice and a voice about the media they consume” has found Sex Kittens “totally age-appropriate for readers twelve and up,” and praised it as “an efforvescent delight” that parents might enjoy reading with their children.

In a televised meeting, the school board was pressured by a boardmember who read profanity-laced passages from another book. It is unclear from the news coverage whether this school board member has actually read Sex Kittens and Horn Dawgs Fall in Love, or if the title alone prompted its inclusion on the list. The fact that a book called Unspeakable Acts, Unnatural Practices: Flaws and Fallacies in Scientific Reading Instruction, which seeks to debunk the "science" of early phonics training, got a last-minute reprieve when the principal begged for its life leads me to think perhaps not.

Perhaps the fuss is all about the title.

Let's hope that reason prevails, that the committee members will read the novel and the professional reviews and decide by their own lights, and not under the television camera’s glare


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I didn't really care for Barbara Kingsolver's book when I read it in high school. She actually came to our high school and spoke on the book before we read it for class.

The book just wasn't my taste. But at least my school was enlightened enough to offer me the experience.

It's better to have the possibility to read her books. To deny students that right is to say that they cannot be trusted to think for themselves. Can you imaging such a society? What a "Brave New World" that would be...

1:07 PM  

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