Challenged book to stay on Anoka High library shelves

  • Article by: Shannon Prather , Star Tribune
  • Updated: November 22, 2013 - 10:26 PM

Some Anoka High parents challenged “Eleanor & Park,” but a panel concluded the novel was honest and realistic, not profane.

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beaglemomNov. 22, 1310:26 PM

Banning books is so backwards. Don't want your children exposed to teen sexuality than don't let them go to Target or other stores where they might see teen parents picking up diapers or formula. Reality is just far too scary to let your child read about.

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frostyjNov. 22, 1310:29 PM

I have not read (nor heard of) the book in question. But I would say that if the language used in the book, would not be tolerated in the school/classroom setting, then yes, the book should be removed from the high school setting. There are plenty of well written, intelligent books that do not encourage our youth to become even more lewd and contentious than they already are.

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morenews0013Nov. 22, 1310:35 PM

I was a school media specialist for years. There were books in all of my libraries that I didn't think were appropriate choices for students, books I didn't like. I wouldn't have purchased all of those books with my limited funds if I'd had a personal choice. Many of those books didn't get checked out often, and if I hated the book, I didn't encourage kids to check it out--so they usually didn't. But if a parent (or a kid) made a fuss about a book, forever after that book would be checked out every minute. Parents, you should know this: You will almost never win a book a challenge. Like it or not, librarians have usually made educated choices to start with. You're going to lose, so if you hate the book, don't draw more attention to it. And then, rather than try to define reading choices for other people's children, teach your own kids to be discriminating about the literature they choose, and don't worry about everyone else's reading habits.

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adamskoglundNov. 22, 1310:38 PM

I have read the book in question, and could not disagree more with frostyj's remarks (with all due respect, of course.) The book is exactly what the article said it is. Raw, honest, gritty, and a realistic look at first love and the ending of first love. If any parent truly believes that their teenage kids haven't sworn or heard swear words before coming across this book, I have some outstanding ocean front property in Arizona for sale that they should really hear about.

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BallFourNov. 22, 1310:50 PM

Gawd. Parents. It's the same every generation. That Elvis, he shooooooore did corrupt us, didn't he?

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citypersonNov. 22, 1311:13 PM

Anoka is like a 2nd world country.

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metroladyNov. 22, 1311:14 PM

I can't believe any people think censorship in the selection of books for a high school is acceptable. How self-righteous and narrow-minded can someone be? (Of course if someone were to suggest a realistically written book about young evangelical christians, I'm sure all of us progressives would push to have it banned.)

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orpheus90Nov. 22, 1311:18 PM

frostyj writes: I would say that if the language used in the book, would not be tolerated in the school/classroom setting, then yes, the book should be removed from the high school setting. ... If books were written merely to conform to the codes of classroom decorum, the only thing kids would be permitted to read would be etiquette manuals. The world, of course, is a bit bigger than a classroom.

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mill47Nov. 22, 1311:28 PM

The problem with censorship, and often with well-meaning parents is that they do not take the book as a whole piece...they slice and dice and see what they do not like. Text should be read as a whole. For instance, Ann Frank's diary was banned...because she talked about "her body." People picked that apart, instead of looking at the whole picture...a young adolescent living in terror with a diary as her only friend...going through puberty and all those things hiding in an attic...and she eventually lost her life. Censorship does no good. While books should be age appropriate, we are completely kidding ourselves if we think that a teenager has never heard the F-word or anything like that. Teens need to read about situations that are real to their lives and their experiences. Books allow young people to venture into lives and worlds that help them deal with their own. All of this fuss only served to promote Powell's book anyway...perhaps the "book police" would be best served figuring out other ways to stir discussion and communication without banning everything in their path.

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PatitodehuleNov. 22, 1311:36 PM

Beaglemom says "Banning books is so backwards." I say that there are books that are not appropriate for a school library. For an obvious example, consider child pornography. Frostyj says "I would say that if the language used in the book, would not be tolerated in the school/classroom setting, then yes, the book should be removed from the high school setting." That is so wrong in the opposite direction. There are even books that I would encourage my younger daughter to read in 7th or 8th grade that I would have frowned on for my older daughter when she was in high school. In the end, parents are hopefully wiser than their children and should set limits. This is why, for a high school library, there should be a procedure in place for making decisions about whether a book is appropriate for the library shelf. I say that Anoka schools did the right thing.

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