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Monday, September 8, 2008
WND Misleads and Lies About Library's 'Erotic' Children's Books
Topic: WorldNetDaily

The headline of a Sept. 5 WorldNetDaily article carries the biggest lie of the piece: "Libraries push 'erotic' children's books." The article offers no evidence that libraries "push" "erotic children's books," unless WND's definition of "push" is merely making books available.

The article itself, as does the headline, repeatedly conflates children's books with young-adult books, making no distinction between the two, by claiming that "A group of citizens is outraged at a growing number of sexually explicit children's books offered at local public libraries." No evidence is offered that any "children's book" offers "erotic" or "sexually explicit" content. Nor does WND or Citizens Against Pornography, who it cites as making this claim, make the case that the titles it singled out as "shocking" and containing "erotic" messages are "children's books." After all, a book with the title "Sexual Decisions: The Ultimate Teenage Guide" -- among the titles Citizens Against Pornography objects to -- is obviously not a "children's book."

Another book on the list is "Alice on Her Way" by Phyllis Naylor; the article notes that the earliest books in the Alice series are geared toward second graders and quotes a parent as saying, "By the time she's in middle school, there is stuff that just isn't for the eyes of an 11-year-old. ... You look at the cover and there's this little blonde-haired girl with braces smiling. It's just too sexually explicit."

One review says of the book: "Phyllis Reynolds Naylor's tender, wonderful Alice series — 20 books strong, and popular with both boys and girls — began following Alice as a tentative 8-year-old. Now she's a high school sophomore, dealing with driving lessons, best friends, and sex ed, all in a way that's heartwarming and, thankfully, not the least bit cloying." Another review sums up the book: "Alice McKinley takes a school trip to NYC, falls in love with Sam and then decides to break up with him, goes through a church-sponsored sex education class, and gets her driver's license."

So "Alice on Her Way" is not geared toward 8-year-olds, or even 12-year-olds. And it's probably a good bet that if the earlier books contain so-called "erotic" content, it's age-appropriate.

Another book on the list is "Looking for Alaska" by John Green -- again, no rationale is provided for calling it a "children's book." Indeed, it's not. As the author himself states (taken from a bluenose library-bashing site that helpfully counts each and every instance of objectionable words in the book -- "Fellatio: 11; Bitch: 13; Breasts, Boobs: 12; Butt: 7; Fart: 1" and so on -- as well as the book's juciest excerpts), the book is geared for readers age 14 and up, which makes it very much not a "children's book."

To WND's credit, it breaks it usual one-sided stance on such issues and quotes library officials who are specifically talking about teen books, not "children's books." But still, the rest of it falsely portrays teen books as "children's books." 

Posted by Terry K. at 1:18 AM EDT

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