A small coalition of parents in Florida are trying to ban two children’s books set in Afghanistan and Iraq from the curriculum, following similar pushes to have the books removed at other schools in the US.
Critics have said that the books – Nasreen’s Secret School and The Librarian of Basra – are inappropriate for students because they promote another religion besides Christianity and are too violent for young children. But neither book is about religion and educational groups have said the books are acceptable for that age group.
Christine Jenkins, an associate professor at the University of Illinois who studies children’s literature and censorship was shocked to hear that these are the books parents want banned. She has read The Librarian of Basra, as well as Nasreen’s Secret School.
“They know very well that they can’t protect their children from any depiction of violence,” Jenkins said. “And this book is such a thoughtful perspective of wartime and what wartime does to a city and the various things you would think when you’re considering – what’s the impact of war?”