Book, depicting boys kissing, returns to Catholic elementary school shelves
A graphic novel, that depicts two boys kissing, is being returned to Catholic elementary school library shelves after being pulled yesterday.
“Drama” by Raina Telgemeier is about a school play, but has a side story about same sex relationships. After complaints from parents the Board made the decision to ban the book for younger grades.
Since being banned, the school board has reversed its decision, saying: "The Ottawa Catholic School Board has listened to educators, parents, stakeholders & ratepayers and is giving access to ‘Drama’ in elementary libraries for readers ages 10 and up. This is also the recommendation of Scholastic (publisher) and Common Sense Media. We remain fully committed to having safe, inclusive, and accepting schools."
In previous statements, the school board expressed concerns with the content of the book and pulled it from elementary school shelves; suggesting only students above the age of 12 read the novels.
“This graphic novel has been made available in the learning commons (libraries) where it is age-appropriate and can be accessed by middle school/senior elementary and high school students.”
The statement also says, “We felt it was appropriate to house the books with our intermediate and high school grades (grades 7-12).”
Scott Hutchison is a parent of two. He says he has no issue with the book. He says, “It’s a reality and it’s been a long time since these things were pushed into the shadows and we shouldn’t go backwards.”
Sarah Jetley is a grade 11 student; she read the book in school years ago. “It was kind of the first time I was exposed to it. Because I was really young. But I think it’s important for people to make their own decision about the topic and it shouldn’t be banned.”
Katherine Zucker says, “It’s important from a young age that you are introduced to these things so that when I young kid is walking down the street and sees two guys holding hands it’s like oh, okay.”
The book is available at Chapters as well as some independent local bookstores.
“They’ve been some of the bestselling graphic novels that we had.” says Bridget Barber of Books on Beechwood.
The Ottawa Public Library has 13 printed copies available- there is a waitlist of about 50. There are also eBooks and French copies- all have holds placed.