From American Libraries Direct
WASILLA — Wasilla Public Library has decided not to shelve two children’s books dealing with homosexuality donated by a gay activist in California.Michael Petrelis, a 49-year-old from San Francisco, donated the books in September after learning of Gov. Sarah Palin’s question about banning certain books when she was Wasilla’s mayor.
In 1996 Palin asked Wasilla’s librarian how she would feel about banning certain books at the library. While no books were banned, Palin’s question started a brief controversy over censorship at the library. Palin reportedly took issue with the book “Pastor, I Am Gay,” by local author and now-retired minister Howard Bess.
The censorship story, reported that year in the Mat-Su Valley Frontiersman, largely faded into history until Republican presidential candidate John McCain named Palin as his running mate in August. The ensuing media attention rehashed the 12-year-old story. Petrelis, who runs a popular blog dealing with gay and lesbian issues, donated the books “Heather Has Two Mommies” and “Daddy’s Roommate” during Banned Books Week, the American Library Association’s celebration of the freedom to read. “I said, ‘I’m going to send copies of both books just to make sure they’re on the shelves,’” Petrelis said in a previous interview.
When the books arrived, Library Director KJ Martin-Albright said they would go through an approval process that doesn’t look at content but focuses more on durability and appeal, and determines whether there is enough space, among other factors. Petrelis’ donated books failed the test, Martin-Albright said. “Anything on the library has to earn its real estate,” she said Wednesday. The Wasilla library does have children’s books dealing with homosexuality, including one title, “And Tango Makes Three,” about two male penguins raising an egg together. More
If you don’t have time to read the article, at least try to make some time for the article’s comments. Interesting dialogue.
One title? What? About penguins? Ok, “And Tango Makes Three” is a really great book; I own it. However, it is a book about animals. Is there no room for a children’s book that has two gay characters who are people? Can someone please explain to me why these books about two people who are in a committed relationship are so taboo? Ok, I get that the sex freaks people out. I get that. But guess what, there is no talk of sex in these books. arghhhhhhh. The books are poorly made? Poor illustrations? Get real. Do you know how many books were read to me about farmers, firemen and princesses? This kid is never going to be a farmer, fireman, or a princess (well, when I was 5 does not count.)