Good news for kids’ right to read! On Wednesday, the Muscogee County (GA) School District’s media committee voted unanimously to keep the novel, My Brother Sam is Dead, in elementary school libraries. Counting up 19 terms she found inappropriate, one parent had challenged the book for its profanity.

In its decision to keep the book on the shelves, media committee members cited the importance of evaluating books as entire works, and not reducing them to isolated words that some find objectionable:

It’s a very well-written book, very gripping,” said Beth Beasley, the media specialist at Mathews Elementary. “It gave you a point of view that might not be found in a history book.”

…Instructional specialist Doreen Sears said Waller’s complaint was covered under the selection criteria for appropriateness — if the book, vocabulary, content, concepts and themes were suited for the intended audience. All of the committee members felt the book met or exceeded this guideline.

“We were evaluating the book as a whole, not taking one part out of context,” Sears said.”