Dispute over book leads Minnesota library to cancel author's speechANOKA, Minn. (AP) — A dispute over a novel selected for a high school summer reading program has led a Minnesota library to cancel an appearance by its author.
ANOKA, Minn. (AP) — A dispute over a novel selected for a high school summer reading program has led a Minnesota library to cancel an appearance by its author.
"Eleanor & Park" by Rainbow Rowell, of Omaha, Neb., tells the story of two outsider teens in the 1980s who find a common bond in music. It was selected for the Anoka-Hennepin School District's high school summer reading program. But Minnesota Public Radio reported a parents' group objected, saying the book wasn't age-appropriate because of its heavy use of profanity.
The school district partnered with the Anoka County Library to fund the summer reading program, and the library invited Rowell to speak. She was due to visit this month, but the library withdrew the invitation because of the controversy.
At Monday's school board meeting, the president of the Anoka-Hennepin teachers' union, Julie Blaha, defended the use of the book in the summer reading program.
"It's a story about two students who fall in love, make the right choices and beat the odds," Blaha said. "They rise above bullies, poverty and domestic abuse. To ignore that is to ignore a powerful, positive message for every teen who ever felt awkward or isolated in high school."
The book remains on Anoka-Hennepin's high school library shelves for now, pending a challenge.