Howard parent wants book removed from school, citing 'sexual' pictures

November 14, 1990|By Michael J. Clark | Michael J. Clark,Howard County Bureau of The Sun

For the fifth time in two months, a Howard County parent is asking the school system to take a book out of the library, this time because of complaints about the illustrations.

The parent, whose name was not released, complained that "The Visitors Who Came to Stay," by Annalena McAfee and Anthony Browne, contains drawings that "illustrate sexual ideas that I find inappropriate for children of this age."

An advisory committee of parents, students and staff members will meet later this month to review the book, which is in 10 elementary school libraries, said Celeste Smalkin, media services supervisor for county schools.

The school system withdrew "Curses, Hexes, & Spells" from elementary school libraries last month but retained it in middle school and high schools.

But the county rejected complaints about three others: C. S. Lewis' classic fantasy "The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe," Jane Bode's "Kids Having Kids, the Unwed Teenage Parent" and Susan Jeschke's "The Devil Did It."

The protests prompted 99 other parents to send a petition to the school system, saying they opposed "censorship" of library books.

The subject of the latest protest -- "The Visitor Who Came to Stay" -- tells the story of a little girl who lives with her divorced father and details his relationship with a woman who has a son of her own.

The parent singled out several illustrations she found objectionable.

One shows a woman dressed in swimwear who is holding an ice cream cone the "same size, shape and color as the bathing suit-covered breasts." In another, a "woman is sunbathing with only two fried eggs covering her naked breasts."

And in a third, a man dressed in a bowler, black jacket and striped pants is reading a newspaper while sitting on a toilet that is part of a carousel.

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