I just ran across a story about the most recent attempt to ban a book written by one of my favorite YA authors, Chris Crutcher.
The challenge to Angry Management comes from a parent in South Carolina, who, after reading 24 pages, decided that the book was unfit for his 14 year old son (and every child in the Kershaw County School District) because of "language." The parent, Douglas Berry, used Facebook to harangue the district's superintendent to remove the book from the summer reading list, as well as from the district's library shelves. The book seems to have been removed, perhaps pending a resolution, and then replaced once a committee was able to meet and discuss the challenge. It bothers me that that the district, at least initially, caved in so willingly and put the needs of one vocal complainer above the needs of everyone else.
As much as I do not agree with Mr. Berry, we live in a country where he has every right to not like this book, read this book, or buy this book. The school's summer reading list had at least 39 other books for his son to choose from. Surely, at least one of those would have been appropriate summer reading. He also is well within his rights to forbid his son from reading this book. Although I suspect that his son, along with many people who had never heard of Angry Management or Chris Crutcher before, has already read it, if only to find out what all of the fuss is about. It's certainly been moved to the top of my TBR pile.
The following is an excerpt from the letter that Chris Crutcher wrote to the students of Kershaw County in response to the challenge:
"Listen, if you pick up a copy of Angry Management and read the first twenty-four pages, as Douglas Berry says he did, and you don’t like it, put it down. The right to read also includes the right not to read. But remember it’s your right, not anyone else’s. If your education doesn’t challenge you, doesn’t take you out of your comfort zone and even scare you a little, you are being cheated."
So here's my suggestion. Go buy or borrow a copy of this book, read it, and start a conversation. Challenge ignorance and think for yourself.
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