November 8, 2007

To the Editor of the Bay Area News Group:

Mt. Diablo School District should stand by First Amendment principles in its review of Lois Lowry’s award-winning book The Giver.  We urge them to keep the book on the sixth-grade optional reading list and library shelves, available to all.

Since the book is optional, the children of parents who object to it do not have to read it.  Other parents, however, may appreciate the opportunity The Giver affords for their children to think about the difficult topics it raises.  The First Amendment allows all parents to make their own decisions how to guide their child’s reading, without interference by others with different values, views and backgrounds. 

The task of selecting readings for the curriculum properly belongs to professional educators.  Parents may be equipped to make choices for their own children but they are not equipped to make decisions that address the needs of all students.  Furthermore, acceding to any request to censor materials invites others to demand changes to reflect their beliefs, leaving school officials vulnerable to multiple, possibly conflicting, demands. 

The district should stand by the principle so essential to individual freedom, democracy, and a good education: the right to read, inquire, and think for ourselves.


Claire Karpen
Youth Program Coordinator
National Coalition Against Censorship