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Jeff Smith responds to effort to remove Bone from school district’s libraries

Bone: The Dragonslayer

Bone: The Dragonslayer

During his spotlight panel at C2E2, cartoonist Jeff Smith reacted to Friday’s news that a parent in suburban Minneapolis-St. Paul is seeking to remove Bone from the school district’s libraries.

“It just broke yesterday; I don’t know anymore about it than you do,” Smith said on Saturday, responding to a question from the audience. “She objected to the gambling, smoking and drinking and the sexiness. I feel sorry for her son. He’s going to be really embarrassed, but you know, not everybody has to like my stuff. That’s fine. But I really can’t go along with this un-American concept of banning books. Let the Nazis do that.”

The parent, Ramona DeLay of Apple Valley, Minnesota, filed a formal request with the school district last month asking that Bone: The Dragonslayer be “withdrawn from all students” because it depicts drinking, smoking, gambling and “sexual situations between characters.”

According to KSTP TV, DeLay is seeking to remove the entire series from the district’s 18 elementary schools; 12 of those schools have at least one volume of Bone available to students.

The district’s Reconsideration Review Committee will meet on April 27 to consider DeLay’s request. The good news is that of the 20 similar cases heard by the committee since the early 1990s, materials were removed from library shelves in just three instances.

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Comments

10 Comments

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again:

This woman is an idiot.

Is this Michelle Bachman’s district? Because that would certainly explain alot…

A Google search for Hardy DeLay (Ramona’s husband?) shows he is the CEO of an energy corporation. I wonder if this banning attempt is secretly being funded by the Republican Party.

I humbly request that Ms. Ramona DeLay change her name since one could think it belongs to a pornstar.

Yeah, it is a vast right-wing conspiracy to get one volume of Bone banned from one school district.

I knew that the CBR boards were insane, but I can’t believe that they are this insanely stupid.

Limiting an elementary school’s library inventory isn’t “book banning,” it’s not “un-American,” and it’s obscene to invoke the Nazis to criticize the practice.

Suppose a politically radical school librarian made Alan Moore’s Lost Girls available to six-year-olds.

By Smith’s absurd logic, those who request even THAT book’s removal are comparable to Jew-hating, genocidal totalitarians. That comparison is sick and simply indefensible.

I think the concern is that, unlike Lost Girls, Bone is entirely appropriate for elementary school readers. As is Treasure Island, as are the Adventures of Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn, as are any number of other books in which there are characters smoking and drinking, and its removal from the libraries would be a disservice to the students of those schools just as much as would the removal of those others, which has occurred far too often. A librarian who chooses to not shelve a particular title is limiting his or her inventory, but a blanket ruling that no libraries in a district are permitted to shelve it, regardless of the desires of the students, teachers, or librarians? That is most definitely a “ban,” and as it goes against the basic consensus of what is deemed appropriate for elementary students it deserves to be listed amongst others for whom book-banning was common practice – namely, to cite recent history, the Soviets, McCarthyans (McCarthyites?), and, yes, Nazis. Folks who ban books are never looked upon kindly by history, not because of the book-banning but because it just happens that they tend to be awful, awful people with aggressively exclusionary tendencies.

The key point in this matter is that the book has met the standard of what is appropriate for kids by the near-universal agreement among teachers, librarians, and parents; there is a big difference between banning a book appropriate for kids because the characters do not adhere to one person’s moral code and limiting access to books universally deemed inappropriate for that age range.

My hope is that the students in Saint Paul who have enjoyed the books will make themselves heard; likewise that the librarians responsible for shelving the book in the first place will defend its inclusion.

Also – where in the world are there “sexual situations” between characters in “Dragonslayer?” I did a quick flip through and can’t begin to see where that argument comes from.

i saw the great documentary about bone on pbs a few months ago, and asked my eight year old (who reads at an seventh grade level) if they had any bone books in his school library. he said yes, but was upset to find out that they too had been removed by upset parents. i was pretty mad, espcially since it’s one of a handful of five star schools in indiana.

As far as those horrible Right Wingers, I’m one of them and I loved every page of Bone. I have an 8 year old neice wto hom I will be introducing Bone in the next couple of years. Now I will say that I’ve been waiting since she was 7 for the right age at which to introduce the series to her, but that’s because of the violence in the later books (don’t want to give her nightmares).

Love it!

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