Kids are way smarter than we give them credit for. They understand the effects of climate change, they’re playful enough to think and explore life without boundaries, and most importantly, they recognise that love is love – and banning an LGBT kids’ book isn’t ever going to change that.
The Guardian reports that earlier this week, the kid’s picture book Prince & Knight was pulled from Upshur County public library in West Virginia after local Pastor Josh Layfield called it “a deliberate attempt to indoctrinate young children, especially boys, into the LGBQTA lifestyle.”
Cue the eye roll.
According to Booktopia, Prince & Knight is a modern fairytale in which “a noble prince and a brave knight come together to defeat a terrible monster and in the process find true love in a most unexpected place.”
After Pastor Layfield claimed the book was an “intentional leading of children into sin,” the National Coalition Against Censorship, the American Library Association Office of Intellectual Freedom and West Virginia Library Association hit back in a letter to board members.
“While we firmly believe that parents know their children best and should guide their children’s reading, one parent’s – or community member’s – belief that a book is inappropriate for their family should not be grounds for restricting that title when the book may be a treasured favourite for other children and other families,” they wrote.
GLAAD president Sarah Kate Ellis added, “Inclusive children’s books do not ‘indoctrinate’ but do allow LGBTQ families and their children the chance to see themselves reflected in the world.”
Even the book’s author, Daniel Haack, weighed in, stating, “Prince & Knight is meant to be a fun little adventure story that also just happens to better reflect the reality of millions of families not seen in other children’s stories.”
The Guardian states that Upshur library will hold a review this week to decide whether Prince & Knight should stay withdrawn from shelves, or return. It sounds like there are a lot of people, including myself, hoping for the latter – telling LGBTQIA+ stories are just as important as telling heterosexual ones in shaping children’s understanding of the world around them.
Another comforting thought that comes from this story is the Streisand Effect – the phenomenon whereby an attempt to hide, remove, or censor a piece of information has the unintended consequence of publicising the information more widely.
Just sit back, relax and watch the sales of Haack’s book skyrocket now it’s been banned from Upshur library shelves.