On July 12, 2023, the book Arthur's Birthday was formally challenged in the Clay County School District, which is located outside of Jacksonville, Florida. The challenge is an effort to remove the volume from the district's school libraries. The book tells the story of Arthur, a bespectacled anthropomorphic aardvark in the 3rd Grade, whose birthday party is scheduled at the same time as one of his classmates, a wealthy monkey named Muffy. Initially, the dueling birthday parties divide Arthur's 3rd Grade class, with the boys pledging to attend Arthur's party and the girls committing to Muffy's celebration. The tension is resolved when Arthur arranges for a joint get-together.
The stated reason will be that "Spin the Bottle" is porn. The real reason will either be mixing monkeys and aardvarks, DIVERSITY!!! OMG!!! or that Arthur made rich girls feel bad.
But let me ask a different question - when hundreds of challenges in multiple districts are coming from one guy, is there a time when his challenges need to be immediately directed to the circular file?
"Friedman said that unless the school district voluntarily purged all the books he believed were inappropriate from the library, he would "perform 3,600 challenges and overwhelm your awful, awful procedures and policies."
Perhaps they will start with changing the policy allowing one person to challenge a book.
No doubt the MAGAs trying to get “Arthur the Aardvark” books banned from libraries are the same people who brag about their commitment to “free speech” when they get Nazis resinstated on Twitter.
What exactly does “run over someone like a dead body” mean, anyway? There should be a law that says you can’t ban a book if you can’t read or write at the grade level for the intended audience.
If the Religious Right has their way, soon these loonies may try to start to extend their book bans to bookstores. Thank heavens for digital media.
Friedman and his handlers know that the time and other resources devoted by the school system to defending books means that less time and resources will be available for educating children. The destruction of public education is their goal. My guess is that the supporters of such censorship also support government school vouchers for religious and segregated private schools.
I once read an Amelia Bedilia book to my kids. In one scene, she smiles at a woman. Was it a smile of friendship, or something more? Ms Bedilia, being an adult woman who lives alone and engages in behavior I find strange, leads me to think she might be a lesbian! Since I'm not sure, the book must be set aside to avoid any potential unnatural influence on our children (and my children are grown, so I really mean your children), or engaging in deviant behavior such as puns or silly rhyming. Believe me! I am a deeply serious person!
While I do agree that sexualizing children is problematic, not allowing children content that helps them deal with sexuality, is also a major problem, since if they're not helped to learn about it, learn to manage their own sexual thoughts and impulses, encouraged to feel good about who they are as sexual beings, they may grow into adults who struggle with sexuality and often express it in inappropriate ways. Keeping silent on such an important aspect of life leaves children without direction and often forces them to find less than helpful ways/sites to get their information. But, what's even more troubling is how much people on the right are obsessed with how children view sexuality.
Florida is lead by people who believe this kind of behavior is good. Friedman knows this. School and class libraries have been emptied of books. Teachers and Librarians (I believe)have been fired and/or reprimanded.
TBH this won't stop in Florida until there is a change of heart in the voters and a change in legislative and gubernatorial leadership.
My tired old repetitive phrase. Gerrymanding has contributed to this, but in statewide elections where that shouldn't matter as much it is the voter or lack of voter who bears the responsibility.
I am committed to not visiting Florida for oh so many reasons, successful book bans amongst them.
I wonder what Friedman thinks of "Arthur's Underpants." My kids loved that book and many others. I had no problem with Arthur books.
This is absolutely ridiculous! Over 40 years ago (can it be??? I feel so old!) I worked as an assistant to the Children’s Librarian in a small NJ town. I loved that wonderful job and all the kind people that worked with me. It makes me sick to see what is happening in our country.
Conservative Objector, probably: "I don't like aardvarks and monkeys mixing—it's unnatural."
Whoever want to ban a book should have to prove they have actually read the entire book, not just the back cover.
My son and I love Arthur and we spend many years watching the cartoon together and reading the books when he grew up.
Wow! 3,600 books to be "challenged".
That's a lot of reading to do, unless, of course, he doesn't actually read them and analyze them before he issues a challenge. Does this guy have a full-time job?
My point is that just by virtue of the list of questionable books, 3,600, he shows that these challenges are specious and should not be taken seriously. Logically.
But then there is nothing logical about this literary witch hunt in Florida.
I cannot tell you exactly which Arthur stories by Marc Brown I read to my kids 38 & 35 years ago (which shows you this author's work has stood the test of time) but I can tell you that they were fun, entertaining books that did not in any way negatively impact my children.
If you have young kids at home ignore this stupid man's opinion, better yet, take Bruce Friedman's "challenge" as a recommendation to read this book to your children...or grandchildren.
The passive aggression is strong in this one. I imagine in a meeting with Friedman he would use the entirety of it defining what “meeting” means.
Hmmm.. Who has time to compile these lists? Who is Bruce Friedman? Just think about how deranged this person must be. If he worked for me, he would no longer be employed.
Reminds me of the very old saying: The more things change, the more they stay the same.