Drew Leclair Gets a Clue Facing a challenge in Prattville, AL
Drew Leclair Gets a Clue is facing a book challenge (meaning a group is trying to have it removed from a public library) in Prattville, AL. When I first saw the article (content warning, misgendering, book banning, homophobia, transphobia), I felt the familiar sting of being seen...in the worst way.
Most people will congratulate you when you face a book ban. The general consensus is that you have arrived. And that, if you're making a book banner mad, you're doing something right. I don't feel much like I've arrived, but I am glad I'm doing something right. Since I posted a reel (above) in which I expressed that I truly only wanted to make kids feel comfortable being themselves, I've received numerous hateful comments in messages and on comments. I've screenshotted and deleted (my new tactic) but I admit it hurts.
Why does it feel more unsafe to be queer in 2023 than it did in 1993? It's not--not in most areas. But, as we see the horrific and rapid rise in laws targeting trans youth and athletes, drag queen story hours (which is QUITE LITERALLY a person in a fancy dress reading books about how it's ok to be you), and queer content in books. I imagine my book ended up in this ban attempt because it was featured on the American Library Association's Rainbow List. If that's true, I have to say something:
Conservative book banners are telling on themselves. Why? If they read the book, they would find a bisexual main character (who is questioning in book 1 if she's ace and biromantic) who has ZERO interest in holding hands or kissing. That's right, not only does my queer book have less romantic content than many books for kids this age, my character is expressing it less than her straight counterparts. Whether they bothered to read the book or not, it's clear that protecting kids from adult content isn't their concern.
Don't get me wrong. I do see the honor in writing my little queer (with dashes of CRT) books in the face of this. But I do see a problem with only seeing the perceived positives of banning your book. 1) It's really only the famous people that get a bump in sales, and 2) Publishers, libraries and bookstores have been an amazing front line against censorship, but we're seeing that line crack. Laws are being passed that threaten to jail librarians for refusing to censor their shelves. Publishers even seem scared.
Take the case of Maggie Tokuda Hall, who wrote a gorgeous picture book about a love story in the face of Japanese American detainment camps and rampant racism. Scholastic offered to feature her book but then asked her to remove a whole paragraph about the racism faced by Japanese Americans during the war and beyond--even asking her to remove the word 'racism.'
The truth is, I am proud. But, looking at the world right now, I'm also worried.
Read banned books, everyone! And high-five your local librarian (with permission) because they are absolute warriors in the face of fascism. Happy library week!