It seems that the Ottawa Catholic School Board is facing backlash for their decision to pull a book from their elementary school libraries. The book in question is a graphic novel called "Drama" that was released in 2012 by an American author and illustrator named Raina Telgemeier. The story follows a student who is hoping to get involved in her school's theatre production that also features a side story between two boys who eventually kiss on stage during the play.
Scholastic Canada set the age range for the book between 10 to 14 years old and since it's release, the book has found itself on the top pick list by the New York Times and was deemed an "Honor Book" of the Stonewall Book Award back in 2013 for its discussion of LGBT topics and struggles.
Apart from official lists and awards, in general, the story has been extremely popular amongst young readers. But, the Ontario school board claims that the story is inappropriate for younger readers.
Unfortunately, the book hasn't been as successful in school libraries when it comes to school boards allowing the book on shelves in the first place. The story is currently banned completely from schools across Texas and now the same thing is reportedly happening in Ottawa.
It was discovered through emails forwarded to CBC News that librarians at elementary schools in Ottawa that are apart of the Ottawa Catholic School Board are being told to take the story off of shelves. The emails include the coordinator of the board telling the schools' librarians "it is not a book we really need younger kids reading without guidance." Claiming that the books will be forwarded to middle and high schools instead and that the removal doesn't explicitly have to do with the LGBTQ+ content discussed in the book.
The decision is definitely a controversial one, especially considering the comment about needing "guidance" while reading the story definitely sends an odd message. Regardless, as of right now, the decision to revoke the book stands and it's likely not to change unless a number of parents decide to get involved.
Though while students may not be able to find it at their school library if they attend a Catholic elementary school in Ottawa, that doesn't mean they can't find it at public libraries.
If you are a parent on the hunt for the book, you'll most likely run into a lineup considering there's lengthy waitlist of readers excited to get their hands on it, according to the Ottawa Public Library main branch librarian, Sophie Tilgner.
Source: CBC News