Bless Me, Ultima by Rudolfo Anaya was banned from high school classes in Newman-Crows Landing Unified School District.  NCAC and ABFFE sent the following letter to the Modesto Bee:

Re: “Orestimba book ban called ‘scary’” (November 23)

To the Editors:

We strongly disagree with the decision of Newman-Crows Landing Unified School District Superintendent Rick Fauss to remove Bless Me, Ultima by Rudolfo Anaya from district high school classes.  School officials have an obligation not to censor controversial material on the basis of its content.  Books should only be removed from curricula in very rare circumstances, for pedagogically sound, legally sufficient reasons, and only after conducting a thorough, measured review process that includes evaluating controversial excerpts in the context of the book as a whole.   

Banning Bless Me, Ultima sets a dangerous precedent – which books will be next?  The Golden Compass by Philip Pullman?  Brave New World by Aldous Huxley?  The Harry Potter books by J.K. Rowling?  All are on the American Library Association’s list of the most frequently challenged titles.  And all, like Bless Me, Ultima, are highly recommended by educators across the country.

In our experience, controversies of this sort are best handled by expanding the array of curricular offerings available, not restricting it, and by including more voices in the conversation rather than silencing any.  Individual freedom, democracy, and a good education all depend on the right to read, inquire, question, and think for ourselves.