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Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Book under fire in Westport

What's OK for 14-year-olds to read? A parent is asking a Westport middle school to remove the book The Lovely Bones from the school library.

Lynne Shain, assistant superintendent for curriculum and staff development, said the parent of a sixth-grade girl at Coleytown Middle filed a challenge form requesting the book be removed from the library.

The committee, of which she is chair, interviewed the school library media specialist, the challenging parent, and a Westport resident who used to be an American Library Association member with experience in challenged materials, she said....

The parent, Shain said, read “The Lovely Bones,” and thought it was right for an adult audience but was not appropriate for a sixth-grader.

In the first chapter of the book, published in 2002, she said, a 14-year-old girl is walking home from school when she is abducted, raped and killed by a neighbor.

“The author shows amazing restraint considering the graphic nature of the events,” she said.

The parent felt it could upset her daughter, Shain said, and it was beyond her maturity level.

The parents have acknowledged the students at Coleytown Middle have a range of reading skills, she said, and have considered with the committee other ways to flag the book so readers could be counseled if the “frightening material” upset them.

“The Lovely Bones” is also available at the Westport Public Library, but Library Director Maxine Bleiweis said the book has not been challenged there.

Shain said she and others cannot remember a book in a school library being challenged.

Of course, I'm not very surprised that no one can remember a challenge to a book. After all, this is Connecticut! Notice the placement of the words "frightening material" within quotes. That tells you all you need to know...

Read more here at Westport Now.

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