LGBTQ children’s books have faced a record number of calls to ban them from libraries and schools in the USA.
Demands to remove certain books from all libraries throughout the USA rose by a fifth last year, with 80% of those being LGBTQ children’s books.
The library body said that there was a 17% increase in calls for bans last year with 377 challenges in 2019 and 566 books targeted.
Top of the American Library Association’s annual list of the most challenged books was Alex Gino’s George. The book about a child who “knows she’s not a boy” has made the top 10 list every year since it was published in 2015, with calls citing sexual references and messages that harm “traditional family structure”, with others saying schools and libraries should not “put books in a child’s hand that require discussion”.
And Tango Makes Three
The children’s picture book And Tango Makes Three made the list due to people’s concerns about two male penguins adopting an egg together, despite the fact that homosexuality can be seen all across the natural world. In fact, ten years after the book was published, two male penguins in Berlin, Germany, had spent their lives trying to ‘hatch’ stones together, and were given an abandoned egg to raise together.
A Day In The Life Of Marlon Bundo
Another book reported to the ALA was television host John Oliver’s parody picture book A Day in the Life of Marlon Bundo, a book about a gay rabbit written by Jill Twiss.
The heartwarming bestseller was released around the time Marlon Bundo’s A Day in the Life of the Vice President, a children’s book about a rabbit owned by the American VP, written by his daughter Charlotte. Her father Mike Pence is famously against same sex marriage, and John Oliver told his viewers: “Selling more books than Pence will probably really piss him off.”
Over 40 free-speech groups including the National Coalition Against Censorship, Planned Parenthood and GLAAD spoke out against the demands on libraries and schools to remove LGBTQ children’s books.
“When LGBTQ stories are silenced in this way, LGBTQ youth and children from LGBTQ families get the message that their own stories – their very lives – do not have value, that they are shameful,” their statement read.
“However, reading stories that acknowledge their experiences, in which they can recognise themselves and their families, reinforces their sense of self-worth and helps them overcome the experience of and feelings associated with social marginalisation.”