Popular YA novel Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell will remain on school library shelves in Anoka-Hennepin Public Schools, after a committee unanimously voted to retain the book. The book came under fire in July 2013 when it was selected as the county’s "Rock the Read" book for summer reading.
"Rock the Read" is a collaboration between the public library system in Anoka and its public school system, the purpose of which is to keep students reading during their vacation. The Library had also invited Ms. Rowell to come and give a talk to students and community members about her work.
Parents complained about profanity in the book and their objections were bolstered by the anonymous conservative action group Parents Action League, who put pressure on the county to ban the book and rescind Rowell’s talk, calling it "inappropriate." Under pressure from the county government, the library board voted to disinvite Rowell while the challenge was on-going.
In a letter sent September 23, 2013 NCAC criticized the Anoka Public Libraries for caving in to pressures to cancel a talk. The letter was shared with school district administrators, with a note that similar principles applied to the school library and curriculum.
In the stead of her talk in Anoka, Rowell was invited to visit schools and libraries in nearby St. Paul, where she discussed her writting, bullying and censorship. Kids’ Right to Read Project coordinator Acacia O’Connor spoke to students about the controversy remotely, via Skype.