Wednesday, May 16, 2012

CONTACT: Acacia O’Connor, Coordinator
Kids’ Right to Read Project
[email protected],  (212) 807-6222 x. 108

NEW YORK, N.Y.—Everybody bathes, a fact made light of by Amy Timberlake’s whimsical, award-winning children’s book The Dirty Cowboy. There will be no bathing cowboys for elementary schools students in Annville-Cleona, P.A., however, as the district removed the book following a complaint about depictions of the cowboy’s partial nudity.  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), two national organizations that defend free speech and the freedom to read, is opposing the book’s removal and asking that the book be returned to school library shelves.

The organizations made their concerns known in a letter (PDF below) sent to the Annville-Cleona School Board yesterday.

“The decision to remove the book not only accedes to a specific viewpoint about the acceptability of nudity, but also deprives the entire student body of access to a highly praised book that many students, and their parents, would wish to read,” the letter states. “Those who object to this book are entitled to their view, but they may not impose it on others.”

The letter pointed out that a vast number of legitimate and educational materials might be ruled out on the grounds of nudity, including books about Native Americans or other indigenous cultures, those depicting Adam and Eve or Christ on the Cross, and art history books containing images from the Sistine Chapel.

The Annville-Cleona School Board will meet tomorrow evening at 7:30 p.m, where a group of concerned citizens and parents hope to make their voices heard on the subject. A petition in print and online calling for the reinstatement of the book currently boasts 250 signatures.


Anti-censorship group weighs in on ‘The Dirty Cowboy’ ban – Lebanon Daily News

Anti-censorship groups say Annville-Cleona School Board book ban ‘stinks of censorship’Harrisburg Patriot-News

TDC Letter to AC Schools 5-15-12