John Green’s award-winning young adult novel Looking for Alaska once more became the target of censorship when it was recently banned from classrooms in Sumner County, Tennessee. The Kids’ Right to Read Project, a joint project of the National Coalition Against Censorship (NCAC) and the American Booksellers Foundation for Free Expression (ABFFE), is opposing the book’s removal.
In a letter sent to the Sumner County Director of Schools Del Phillips yesterday, the organizations expressed their alarm about the sudden and immediate removal of the book without following the procedures in the county’s own School Board policies.
“It is particularly disturbing that the complaint of one parent triggered a county-wide ban within the span of a single week, without following established procedure and without so much as a review of the literary and educational merits of the book,” the letter states, going on to note that, by removing the book, “the district has imposed one viewpoint on the entire student body, without regard to the educational consequences for students.”
The letter urged the school to honor its constitutional obligations and allow students the opportunity to read and discuss the book, which was awarded the American Library Association’s prestigious Michael L. Printz Award for “the best book written for teens, based entirely on its literary merit.”
In 2008, Looking for Alaska was removed from schools in Depew, NY after similar objections were raised, despite the fact that students already needed parental permission to read it. At that time, Green defended himself from claims that the book was "pornographic" in a YouTube video (below).
Anti-censorship groups want Sumner schools to lift book ban – The Tennessean
Banned ‘Looking for Alaska’ Gets Defense from Anti-Censorship Groups – Publishers Weekly