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Seven Stories Press

Works of Radical Imagination

This week, we saw angry parents in two cities call for our children's books to be pulled from school libraries.

In Massachusetts, a number of parents protested Sex Is a Funny Word, an award-winning, inclusive book for 8-10 year olds written by a certified sex educator that champions ideas of justice, respect, joy, and truth in teaching about gender and sexuality. One parent said the kids were being "poisoned" by the book, and another said that the book wasn't likely to "get kids into the Ivy Leagues, I can tell you that."

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Then, in Wisconsin, several parents were offended that 10,000 Dresses, a perennially protested picture book about a girl who dreams of wearing dresses even though her family insists she is a boy, was stocked in their elementary school library. One father explained, "You are either a boy or you are a girl. That is the way you are born ... Until you are of age, you really shouldn't have to know there's a difference." We're pretty sure that when a book prompts a child to ask questions, it's a great moment for a parent to respond with truth and love and caring in a framework that works for their family. But to discourage the questions altogether is a surefire way to raise a curious child into a closed-minded and ignorant adult, which is not gonna get you into the Ivy League, I can tell you that.

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