The Pavement Education Project (North Carolina)

Posted on Tuesday, 6th February, 2024

A reader in North Carolina informs me that the Pavement Education Project now has Almost Perfect in their crosshairs in the McDowell County School system, and probably others. They’ve kindly created their own Index Librorum Prohibitorum of books they want pulled from libraries (Almost Perfect is right at the top of the page) and have even gone so far as to release a list of every salty word or questionable scene in the book (note to censors, Sage is a transgender FEMALE, not male). Apparently they also protest ‘near’ schools.

Of course they’re banning books for the sake of those poor, innocent high school students:

These books have sexually inappropriate or confusing gender concepts or content, some including self harm, suicide, violence, and/or racism.

Because it’s their job–not the librarians’ and certainly not the parents’–to decide what every child in that district should read. And shouldn’t racism be something people read about? Like, a lot?

It always cracks me up to read the titles these people are afraid your children will read: Brave New World. The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian. The Bluest Eye (the only time I’m ever included on a list with Toni Morrison is when we’ve made the same people angry).

If you don’t want your children reading books, that’s your prerogative as a parent. Contact the school, contact the library and tell them that you don’t want your child reading about certain topics. As a school librarian myself, I deal with that frequently (mostly with families who do not celebrate secular holidays). But that is where your rights as a parent and citizen end. You are not the arbiter of what MY child gets to read.

It’s a common internet trope, but a true one: Book censors are never on the right side of history. I can’t think of a single incident when a body, be it a government, a church, or an organization successfully lobbied to pull books from a collection, and history looked kindly on them.

As a librarian, I include books for all stakeholders, not simply those whose world views are in line with mine. No one is forcing your child to read those specific titles, but you feel you have the right to force other people’s children not to.

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