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Children’s Bestselling Book Faces Florida Ban Over Claim It “Damaged Souls”


One of the titles in the bestselling Arthur children’s book series faces a potential ban after a conservative claimant said that it “damaged souls.”

The Arthur series, penned by US author Marc Brown, tell the stories of a fictional young aardvark Arthur and his family and friends. Of nearly 50 titles in the series – and sales of more than 60million in the US alone – it is Arthur’s Birthday, published in 1989, that has caused consternation.

The Guardian reports that on 12 July, Bruce Friedman, a member of the Florida’s Clay county school district community, filed a challenge to the book being available in classrooms because of the storyline: Arthur receiving a birthday present from Francine the monkey of a glass bottle, with the words “Francine’s Spin the Bottle Game” printed on it.

The Daily Beast has published the whole complaint, with the reason for Friedman’s ban request being “to protect children.”

Friedman states: “It is not appropriate to discuss ‘spin the bottle’ with elementary school children. This book is found in all/almost all [district schools]!”

“‘Spin the bottle’ not okay for K-5 kids,” And for the risk he feared would ensue if the book remained available, Friedman wrote: “Damaged souls.”

According to the Daily Beast, the book is one of 45 titles currently under review for availability in schools.

The Guardian reports that the Florida Freedom to Read Project has responded to Friedman’s challenge to Arthur’s Birthday, saying: “The entire book is about being inclusive of all friends and not only inviting boys or girls (based on your gender) to your birthday party.”

The controversy of book banning has expanded in recent times. Veteran author Judy Blume, whose book Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret has recently been brought to screen on Netflix while another Forever has been pulled from reading lists in Martin County, Florida, told the BBC that “banning books” has become political – “worse than it was in the 1980s.”

Content Source: deadline.com


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