If you attended one of America’s public schools, then perhaps in elementary school you took part in one of Scholastic’s book fairs — the reading company’s traveling stab at getting kids to put down the PSP and pick up book of glued pages. But if you’re a kid today, one book you won’t find is Luv Ya Bunches. It’s too gay.
Also, it has the terms “crap,” “sucks,” and “Oh my God” in it.
Is there any better a story for kids than one about four young girls with nothing in common, but who form a bond because they’re all named after flowers? Lauren Myracle’s Luv Ya Bunches, released Oct. 1, is that type of feel-good tome. But because it’s written for kids who are living in 2009, and not, say, 1959, one of the characters — egads! — has gay parents!
That’s too much for Scholastic, which told publisher Abrams/Amulet it would need to submit a copy of the book with the bad words removed, and give the character Milla a set of hetero parents.
For her part, Myracle says she was willing to clean up the language to meet Scholastic’s standards. But no way in hell she is erasing the gay parents. “A child having same-sex parents is not offensive, in my mind, and shouldn’t be ‘cleaned up.’ … I find that appalling. I understand why they would want to avoid complaint letters—no one likes getting hated on—but shouldn’t they be willing to evaluate the quality of the complaint? What, exactly, are children being protected against here?”
Not so surprising: Myracle is a Top 10 plaeholder on the American Library Association’s list of most-challenged authors.
But her complaints are falling on deaf ears; Scholastic isn’t budging. “Authors are often given the opportunity to make changes in the books to meet the norms of the various communities that host the fairs,” says spokeswoman Kyle Good, who says the book will be available in the company’s book catalog. Just not at the fairs.
Sad, sad Scholastic. Shouldn’t we be encouraging kids to read at any cost? Particularly a “cost” that has kids reading about “alternative families,” which come middle and high school could help breed a sense of tolerance and acceptance?
Well hell, if kids can read about ex-gays …