Banned and Challenged Books: George

Welcome aboard, train wreck.

I think George looks like a wonderful book to help open the conversation with kids about LGBTQ+ family members and friends. LGBTQ+ issues are a big part of my life and my family. My oldest child is gender fluid. My brother is gay. I'm bi. Anything that helps people (including kids) realize who they are and how to live their best life I am here for.
George (Scholastic Gold)

We’re still going on this series. Again, never heard of this book but I tend to ignore the news. Self preservation and all. It’s self care really. Anyway.

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Please consider donating to help keep this going. $1 and I’ll ask you what your favorite book is so we can talk about it. $5 and I’ll write a review of a book you suggest. $10 and I’ll write a blog suggested by you. I do post affiliate links in my blogs. I get commission for purchases or clicks made through links in this post. But this comes at no extra cost to you. So, thank you.

This book being banned doesn’t confuse me at all. Seems like a bunch of pearl clutchers yelling, “Would someone think of the children?” That’s what we’re doing here, Martha. We’re telling the children they’re ok to be themselves in whatever form that is.

So, let’s see who is challenging this book, when, where and why.

2017

It has been challenged because it contains a transgender youngster and because the “sexuality was not acceptable at primary levels,” among other reasons.

2018

The book has been removed from a package of award-winning books that the Wichita (KS) School District bought for all 57 elementary schools in the city, although school librarians may still buy it with their own monies. It has been claimed by the supervisor of library media for the Wichita school system that the book about a transgender 4th grader includes language and allusions that are not suitable for young children.

2019

The books George, Lily, and Dunkin by Donna Gephart and I Am Jazz by Jazz Jennings and Jessica Herthel were challenged at the Andover (Kansas) Public Library on the grounds of “sexual content,” concerns of bullying, rebelling against the police, and refusing to take prescriptions, among other things. The books had been requested to be removed from the children’s area, and the request was granted. Following a review procedure, the library opted to keep them all in the same condition as they were originally cataloged. When the parents filed an appeal against the ruling, the library board ruled unanimously to keep the books.

It was debated by the Tigard-Tualatin School District (King City, OR) whether to need a parental permission form before allowing elementary school-aged pupils to read Gino’s fictitious narrative about a 10-year-old transgender girl called George who is seen by the rest of the world as a guy. Some parents, on the other hand, were opposed to the plan. A meeting with employees and parents was reportedly scheduled for later this month to discuss the book and determine whether or not to take any further action. It is a voluntary competition that encourages students to read books from an approved list and respond to questions in the form of a quiz-style event known as the Oregon Battle of the Books (OBOB). George, a novel about a transgender youngster, was among the titles included on the 2018 list. Four elementary schools in the Cascade school system made the decision to withdraw from the competition because of financial concerns. After prohibiting its primary kids from participating in the statewide reading competition, Hermiston School District let them to participate in the district-level competition, which did not involve George. Several school districts, including Bend and Tigard-Tualatin, have shown interest in participating in OBOB with the entire reading list. An online petition to resist any ban on George and other books that promote visibility and support for LGBTQIA+ people has garnered more than 2,000 signatories. The book was kept on the 2018-2019 reading list by the Oregon Board of Books executive committee and the Oregon Association of School Librarians.

2020

Because of its LGBTQIA+ content and the presence of a transgender character; because schools and libraries should not “put books in a child’s hand that require discussion”; for sexual references; and for conflicting with a religious viewpoint and “traditional family structure,” it has been challenged, banned, restricted, and hidden.

As part of its proposed resolution, the Scappose (OR) School Board decided to remove George from the 16-book list for primary pupils, a decision that would prevent its kids from participating in regional or state voluntary Oregon Battle of the Books competitions. There was no requirement that students read the book. At its meeting after the controversial decision to remove the book off its list, board members voted 5-2 to overrule the motion to do so.

Several LGBTQ books were discovered in the children’s section of the Independence (KS) Public Library, and the patron requested that they be labeled and removed from that section. The books in question included And Tango Makes Three by Peter Parnell and Justin Richardson, Heather Has Two Moms by Leslee Newman, Gay and Lesbian History for Kids by Jerome Pohlen, George by Alex Gino, and Stella Brings the Family by Miriam Schiffer, as well as Worm by Alex Gino and Wor “There ought to be some form of restriction on the books that are made accessible to youngsters,” the customer added. This is just a request based on common sense.” She had been asked to attend a meeting of the library board of directors. Her message invited others to come along with her. All nine volumes have been kept on the shelf.

2021
Content that is offensive to LGBTQIA+ people, that is in contradiction with religious beliefs, and that does not represent “the ideals of our community” has been challenged, prohibited, and limited.

In Ruston, Louisiana, some library users expressed dissatisfaction with George and Rick, two children’s books in the library’s children’s room collection that included characters that identified as LGBTQIA+. The complaints were all similar, and they all referred to an approaching mill levy election for the library. While all of the clients agreed that neither book was sexually explicit, they were concerned that youngsters would come into contact with a subject that their parents did not want them to. Some board members requested that the director take the books from the shelves and make them accessible only to parents who specifically requested them at a meeting in which a quorum was not present in order to pacify the unhappy patrons at a meeting in which a quorum was present. The director obliged, but expressed concern that the limits imposed by the challengers were inconsistent with library policy. The following titles were added to the complaint after the board members reached out to the publisher: Wings of Fire (series); Mommy, Mama, and Me; My Two Dads; My Two Moms; Real Sisters Pretend; The Great Big Book of Families; A Tale of Two Daddies; Jazz Jennings: Voice for LGBTQ Youth; Snapdragon; and Meg, Jo, Beth, and Amy. Reporters reporting the case observed that the director was under no legal responsibility to abide by a board resolution made in the absence of a majority. Since then, the library’s tax has been rejected; many local inhabitants seem to have used the election to express their displeasure with what they saw to be censorship at the library. Following that, the board agreed to adhere to library policy and to return the books to the children’s section of the collection.

Several novels with LGBTQIA+ characters and themes were taken from a 5th grade classroom by the Swarthmore Rutledge School administration in the Wallingford-Swarthmore (PA) School District after they were identified as inappropriate (WSSD). Neither Ivy Aberdeen’s Letter to the World, George, nor When Aidan Became a Brother dealt with “adult” or violent subjects, and all three works were written for children. The books in issue were finally restored to the classroom after a large number of community people, including students, contacted the WSSD administration to express their dissatisfaction with their removal and expressed concerns about the lack of transparency in the decision-making process. The district acknowledged that all of the books were acceptable for the readers’ age and grade level.

I think George looks like a wonderful book to help open the conversation with kids about LGBTQ+ family members and friends. LGBTQ+ issues are a big part of my life and my family. My oldest child is gender fluid. My brother is gay. I’m bi. Anything that helps people (including kids) realize who they are and how to live their best life I am here for.

Have you read this? What did you think? Let me know.

This content contains affiliate links. When you buy through these links, I may earn an affiliate commission. Again, if you like what I post, please like, comment, share, and subscribe. Please consider donating to help keep this going. $1 and I’ll ask you what your favorite book is so we can talk about it. $5 and I’ll write a review of a book you suggest. $10 and I’ll write a blog suggested by you. That’s all I’ve got for today, train wrecks. All aboard.

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