Monday, June 19, 2023

Tonight, the Williamson County School Board votes on removing "Where the Crawdads Sing" from school libraries.

by Rod Williams, June 19, 2023- Tonight the Williamson County School Board will vote on whether or not to remove four books from school libraries. Of the four I have read Where the Crawdads Sing.  I do not think it is inappropriate book for a high school student to read.  If they pick this book as one to ban. and I deem it unworthy of being banned, then I assume the other three are also unworthy of being banned. The effort to ban the book is being spearheaded by the group Mom's for Liberty.

Where the Crawdads Sing, in my estimation is not a great book. It was a book worth reading and a nice way to pass some time, but I did not think it was a great work of literature. Some books resonate with me, and I hate to see them end, or they stir an emotion in me, or they are thought provoking.  I had none of these reactions from this book, but many people loved it. There is no denying that it is a popular book. The book has sold over 18 million copies making it one of the best-selling books of all time and spent 150 weeks on the New York Times Best Seller list. 

If I had a teenage child and he or she read this book, I would be glad he was choosing to read something of significance rather than watching Tic Tok videos or playing video games. I would simply be glad he was reading.  I would hope my child would develop a love or reading and a love of books. If a high school student chooses to read this book, he or she probably has the maturity to handle the subject matter. For parents who disagree and don't want their child to read it, they can put the librarian on notice that their child is restricted from checking out certain books. 

While there is one passage in the book that deals with a sexual encounter, the book is not salacious. This is not porn. Yes, the book does include sex, and violence and alcohol abuse, but that is not what the book is about. After all, all of those elements are also in the Bible. Should we ban the Bible?  If one wants to read the taken-out-of-context passages in this book that the advocates of banning the book object to you can find them at this link.  Before concluding these passages justify banning the book, just think what passages one could take out of context to ban the bible. A Utah school district did ban the Bible for vulgarity” and violence. A few taken-out-of-context passages should not be the basis of banning a book.

There may be some books in a library somewhere that deserve to be removed, but I don't think Where the Crawdad Sings, in one of them. The process of putting a book on the library shelf is not a haphazard process and there is a methodical way to consider the removal of a book when it is challenged. (You can learn more about this process at this link.) The committee established to advise the school board on whether or not to remove a book, recommended against removal. If I was serving on the Williamson County School Board, I would vote against removal.

If you would like to read Where the Crawdads Sing for yourself, you can order it from Amazon at this link

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