[kids-lib] Challenges to George on the 2018-19 OBOB list

Holly Campbell-Polivka Hollyc at tigard-or.gov
Fri Mar 2 14:21:23 PST 2018

Many of you may be aware, but in case you're not, I wanted to call attention to the controversy surrounding George, by Alex Gino, being included on the Grades 3 to 5 list for OBOB next year. There have been complaints by parents because they do not feel George is an age-appropriate title to be included on the list.

In case you are not familiar with the book, here is the publisher's summary:

"When people look at George, they think they see a boy. But she knows she's not a boy. She knows she's a girl. George thinks she'll have to keep this a secret forever. Then her teacher announces that their class play is going to be Charlotte's Web. George really, really, REALLY wants to play Charlotte. But the teacher says she can't even try out for the part . . . because she's a boy. With the help of her best friend, Kelly, George comes up with a plan. Not just so she can be Charlotte -- but so everyone can know who she is, once and for all."

The response by the OBOB board up to this point is:

"George was nominated for the 2018-2019 OBOB Elementary Division when title nominations were open for anyone to nominate up to three titles per division that they think would be appropriate for OBOB within that grade division. Members of the elementary title selection committee read George and found that it met the selection criteria of OBOB which includes:

It is an appropriate reading level for 3-5th grade.

It adds diversity of character, plot, perspective, and genre to the OBOB reading list.

It is an award winning book that has high-quality writing and is well-reviewed.

Outside of the committees we read and consider the feedback we've received from the feedback forms available for anyone to give feedback. There was not sufficient feedback to cause concern for the committee to exclude the book from the list.

The OBOB Handbook states:

Once a title has been placed on the final list and announced to the public, it cannot be removed.

In accordance with the Library Bill of Rights and its interpretations, titles that otherwise meet the selection criteria will not be excluded: 'because of the origin, background or views of those contributing to their creation;' or 'because of partisan or doctrinal disapproval;' or 'because of actual or suspected parental objections;' or 'in an effort to avoid controversy with parents.'

The OBOB Handbook also provides all the guidelines and the outline of how titles are discussed and chosen under the heading 'Criteria for the Selection of Titles'."

However, I understand that the decision is not actually final, and due to the pressure being applied by those who feel it is inappropriate, George may not remain on next year's reading list. If you would like to provide feedback, you may email obobtitlechair at gmail.com<mailto:obobtitlechair at gmail.com> and oboblsta at gmail.com<mailto:oboblsta at gmail.com>.

Holly Campbell-Polivka
Youth Services Librarian
Tigard Public Library
Direct: 503-718-2811
Children's Desk: 503-718-2673
Hours: Wed 5:30-9:30; Fri 9:30-6; Sat 10-6:30


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