Here we go again. A parent in Seminole County, Fla. found that her nine year old brought home This One Summer by Mariko Tamaki and Jillian Tamaki and thought it was way too adult for her kid and complained, and the local TV news has launched an investigation and discovered that shockingly, the book, which is listed as being for readers 12-18, is available at three high schools!!!!!!!
The book is filled with obscenities and sexual situations.
District officials agreed with her concerns and began formal steps to label the book inappropriate, removing it from three high schools as well.
“We appreciate that greatly, that a parent would bring that to our attention so the school could remedy it quickly,” said Michael Lawrence of the Seminole County School District.
Channel 9’s Angela Jacobs checked with Osceola County and found the book was in one elementary school library, and pending placement in another.
The school district said both books have been pulled, but some copies remains on high school shelves in Osceola County.
Thanks to this incredible “Spotlight” like inquiry, the entire system for pre-approving books for school libraries is being reviewed!
Of course, somewhere along the way, these ace reporters managed to not discover that This One Summer is a Caldecott Honor book, the highest honor a YA book can get, and also a Printz Honor book, and the subject of rave reviews and the whole book is ABOUT KIDS COMING OF AGE AND LEARNING ABOUT SWEARING AND SEXUAL SITUATIONS. This One Summer is one of the finest graphic novels of the last 10 years, a beautiful, sensitive, multi-leveled exploration of growing up. Maybe someone could investigate that?
This isn’t the first time the Tamaki cousins have been scrutinized, though. Their previous collaboration Skim, which was also nominated for several prestigious literary awards, has also been challenged. And the CBLDF is already aware of challenges for This One Summer, and has a whole guide to how to add it to your library:
What should I do if This One Summer is challenged?
Most challenges to comics in libraries come from well-meaning individuals, frequently parents, who find something they believe is objectionable in their local public or school library. These challenges are often difficult and stressful for the library staff who must manage them, but there are resources to help them in the process. Below we’ve identified a number of tips and links to assist libraries to increase the likelihood of keeping challenged comics on the shelves.
This One Summer is definitely a YA book, and 9 may be too young to read it. I certainly applaud a parent for being concerned with their children’s media consumption. But the idea that this book is too mature for high schoolers is, frankly, ridiculous. The CBLDF page above has a loooong long list of praise and awards for This One Summer, and maybe someone can inform Channel 9 of some of these honors.
Heidi MacDonald is the founder and editor in chief of The Beat. In the past, she worked for Disney, DC Comics, Fox and Publishers Weekly. She can be heard regularly on the More To Come Podcast. She likes coffee, cats and noble struggle.