Oftentimes, books are pulled from school libraries when they have some content someone finds objectionable. Now Redneck Mother brings us the sad and astounding tale of books banned because no one finds them unobjectionable.
Possibly because no one read them. It's Clifford, FFS, and the only problem, according to the LA Daily News story, is that the person responsible for vetting books didn't know what was in them. I've never been responsible for a five-year-old, but I know what's in the Clifford books. The school officials responsible don't though:
"I don't know if it's upholding 'Character Counts.' I want to be sure its promoting what we are upholding. I approved books that I'm familiar with the content," Greene said.
I'm not even sure what "character" means, although apparently books with "warlock" in the title work against it. I always think of it as "having a spine," which is not something schools generally encourage. I'm fairly sure it includes pet care. And reading.
This points up one problem with pulling bad books -- there are no clear standards. I've yet to see any instance ofa school district using an objective measure of whether a book will be harmful to young children. because there isn't one. As a result, it's always some foaming-at-the-moth looney who believes that a child who has a single un-Christian thought will turn immediately and irrevocably from the correct path, or it's someone with no sense of irony or metaphor who sees the n-word and concludes that the book promotes a racist viewpoint, or, as here, it's an overworked administrator who keeps things she hasn't read away from kids, just to be on the safe side.
In a way, though, they all share with the loony the belief that everything kids read must be goal-oriented. Kids are no longer allowed to have fun or read anything that's just silly. I have no problem with not thrusting "damaging" material into kids' hands, if a definition can be agreed upon that's more antithetical to the purpose of education than "making them think," and provided it's still available to them. But not everything has to be Uplifting -- again, whatever that means. Especially in the lower grades, the simple fact that they're reading is half the point.