Read Objectors’ Complaints About Family Books

Through records requests, the Kids’ Right to Read Project was able to get access to the official complaints filed by parents and citizens who objected to the content of The Family Book and In Our Mothers’ House. The excerpted passages below make clear some of the discomforts these individuals felt and what viewpoints they use to justify their desire to remove the book.

These documents are a matter of public record and have been redacted to protect the privacy of the complainants.

The Family Book

The two complaints NCAC received (there are others that were not released by the Erie School District) made very clear religious-based ideological objections to GLSEN’s Ready, Set, Respect and Todd Parr’s The Family Book.

The Family Book, you’ll recall, teaches about different types of families. The offending page says “some families have two moms or two dads.”

In Our Mothers’ House

Many of the complaints to IOMH had accurate and fair descriptions of the book’s theme: family love, tolerance and different types of families:

Roughly a third of the complaints responded that the book did have a valuable lesson or beautiful pictures:

Others replied that the book had no value.

Several complaints brought up the “mean” neighbor depicted in the book as intolerant. It was clear from these mentions that the complainants disliked this portrayal because they felt they were being identified with her:

As to when the material should be taught or what age it might be appropriate for, responses varied from it should never be taught to 10+, middle school, 18+ and after 25:

Several complaints likened a book with two moms to topics like “where do babies come from” and premarital sex:

Some forms lauded the theme of happy adoptions present in the book and suggested the library make a different adoption book available to replace IOMH:

Some expressed concern at the over-simplification or universally positive portrayal of a possibly difficult existence:

The majority of complaints revolved around parental control. These parents and citizens collectively expressed a desire to control what information was accessible to their children and when. They expressed a desire to control the narrative their child heard about gay couples:

The complaints with the strongest language voiced very clear objections to same-sex partners:

To view the complaints in full click here and here for The Family Book and here for IOMH.

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