Thursday, February 26, 2015

Challenged in Canada: Children and Teen Books

The following are titles that my libraries carry. While there has been discussion by staff and a few parents about the appropriateness of their content, I am happy to report that none have been formally challenged in my schools. 
(titles and information selected from


Asha's Mums
Written by Rosamund Elwin and Michele Paulse

Asha is excited about the upcoming school trip to the Science Centre. However, when her teacher Ms. Samuels tells her that her permission form is filled out incorrectly, she faces not being able to go on the trip. When Asha explains that both of her mums signed the form, Ms. Samuels argues that "you can't have two mums."
Objection: depicts same-sex parents to elementary aged children.

Thomas' Snowsuit
Written by Robert Munsch

Thomas refuses to wear his new snowsuit despite the pleas of his mother, his teacher, and even his principal. When everyone’s best efforts lead only to comedic chaos, they all agree it’s best to let Thomas suit himself.
Objection: claim that the story undermines the authority of "all school principals"

Matthew and the Midnight Flood
Written by Allen Morgan

A plumber saves the city from disaster after Matthew awakes at midnight to find water right up to his windowsill!
Objection: story depicts a stranger visiting a boy's bedroom at night and convincing the boy to leave with him.


The King's Daughter
Written by Suzanne Martel; Translated by David Homel and Margaret Rose

Jeanne Chatel has always dreamed of adventure. So when the 18-year-old orphan is summoned to sail from France to the wilds of North America to become a king's daughter and marry a French settler, she doesn't hesitate. However, her new husband is not the dashing military man she has dreamed of, but a trapper with two small children who lives in a small cabin in the woods. 
Objectiondescribes natives from the perspective of a scared young immigrant who has yet to overcome her prejudice (note that a reprinting of the novel had the offending passages deleted or modified, reportedly without the consent of the author)

Trouble on Tarragon Island
Written by Nikki Tate
Image result for trouble on tarragon island
Heather Blake is horrified when her grandmother gets involved with the Ladies of the Forest, a radical group of protesters willing to do just about anything to save a stand of old-growth trees from the loggers' chainsaws. When the Ladies make a calendar, semi-nude photos of Granny and her friends hang on just about every fridge on Tarragon Island. Things get even worse when protesters get arrested and tempers flare.
Objection: Bullying, anti-logging support, use of the word "bazoongas"

Underground to Canada
Written by Barbara Smucker
Image result for underground to canada barbara smucker
Ripped from her mother by slave traders, Julilly yearns to be free. She and her friend Liza dream of escaping to Canada, the ‘Promised Land’ of freedom. So when the Underground Railroad offers to help them escape, they are ready. But slave catchers are also ready to relentlessly pursue them. Includes an introduction by Lawrence Hill.
Objectiondepictions of black people and the use of the word “nigger”


Who Is Frances Rain?
Written by Margaret Buffie

A vacation at her grandmother's cottage is the highlight of Lizzie's year, but this summer the whole family is going. To escape the bickering, Lizzie explores a nearby island and finds a pair of glasses. When she tries them on she finds herself watching two women from the past.
Objection—The words “hell” and “bastard” made the book unsuitable for 10-to-13-yearolds.

The Shepherd's Granddaughter
Written by Anne Laurel Carter

Amani's family home in Palestine is being threatened by encroaching Jewish settlements. As she struggles to find increasingly rare grazing land for her starving sheep, her uncle and brother are tempted to take a more militant stance against the settlers.
Objection: claim that it contained anti-Israeli propaganda.

When Everything Feels Like the Movies
Written by Raziel Reid

Inspired by a true story, this is an edgy, extravagant novel for young people, full of gender-bending teen glamour, dark mischief, and enough melodrama to incite the paparazzi. A boy who smells like Chanel Mademoiselle, calls Blair Waldorf his biggest childhood influence, and reads Old Hollywood star biographies like gospel doesn't have the easiest path to travel in life, but somehow, Jude paves his own yellow brick road and makes us all wish we could join him over the rainbow.
Objection: use of language; Sexual content described as vulgar and gratuitous (including an incestuous sexual fantasy); inappropriate for young adult audience


Three Wishes: Palestinian and Israeli Children Speak
Written by Deborah Ellis

Children on both sides of the Middle East conflict tell their stories. The text includes background information, photographs, a map, a glossary and suggestions for further reading.

Objection: In Ontario, the Canadian Jewish Congress (CJC) said that Ellis had provided a flawed historical introduction to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict; also said that some children in the book portrayed Israeli soldiers as brutal, expressed ethnic hatred and glorified suicide bombing resulting in a “toxic.” affect on young readers.  In 2006 at least five school boards pulled or placed restrictions on this title.

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