"The seventh time I learned that my novel Nineteen Minutes
was being banned
in a school district, I was watching a book burning.
I was in the U.K., in rehearsals for a musical I’d co-written based on Markus
Zusak’s novel The Book Thief
, which is set in Nazi Germany. The director was
determined to physically set a prop book on fire each night because of how
shocking and powerful it was to watch. We were testing it out for the first
time when the notification popped on my computer screen: about yet another
parent complaining that my novel was inappropriate for high school students.
In the past six months, my books have been banned dozens of times in dozens of
school districts. As sad as it seems, I was getting used to the emails from PEN
America’s Jonathan Friedman telling me that yet again, my novel was under
attack. But this week, something truly egregious happened. In Martin Country
School District, 92 books were pulled from the school library shelves. Twenty
of them were mine.
The 92 books fell into three categories: those with mature content, those
written by BIPOC authors, and those written by LGBTQ authors. My books were
removed because they were, according to the sole parent who made the challenge,
“adult romance that should not be on school shelves.” It is worth noting I do
not write adult romance. The majority of the books that were targeted do not
even have a kiss in them. What they do have, however, are issues like racism,
abortion rights, gun control, gay rights, and other topics that encourage kids
to think for themselves.
When I read through the list of the 20 novels of mine that were pulled from the
Martin County School District bookshelves, one surprised me the most. The
is a novel about the Holocaust. It chronicles the growth of
anti-Semitism and fascism in Nazi Germany. There was a strange irony that a
parent wanted this particular
book removed, because it felt a bit like
history repeating itself."
Via Frederick Wilson II.
*** Xanni ***
Chief Scientist, Xanadu
Partner, Glass Wings
Manager, Serious Cybernetics