The school district in Walton County, Florida recently released a list of 58 books that are losing their real estate on bookshelves throughout the district. And by the looks of it, they’re reading a lot into these books. Everywhere Babies, a book for two-year-olds aimed at exploring the everyday miracle of babies joining us on this Earth, was on the hit list.
The scandalous reason? Two dudes are shown standing (Walton County would have you believe otherwise, but we’ve seen the illustration) together on the same page, in the context of a family. Everywhere Babies, about to celebrate its 25th anniversary, is widely known as a classic.
When asked about landing on a banned book list, Caldecott Medal-winning illustrator Marla Frazee told The Washington Post, “To be honest, I don’t know that I’ve ever been on a list with Toni Morrison before, or Judy Blume—I mean the people on this list, I’m thrilled to be on any list with these people!” And it’s no secret that books on banned lists tend to be sought out and given even more attention.
Author Susan Meyers added that school officials in Walton County might have cited the book’s inclusion on various LGBTQ children’s book sites as cause for removal. But why one man putting his arm on another’s is automatically seen as a signal of “gayness” is what the pair can’t understand.
BREAKING: My home county, Walton County, Florida has moved forward on banning 58 books from Walton County Public School Libraries.— Daniel Uhlfelder (@DWUhlfelderLaw) April 20, 2022
Here is the list: pic.twitter.com/IDjnq0XKNP
“If you were a child being raised by two moms, you might look at that image of two women together in one way. If you were a kid with a mom whose best friend or sister or aunt was always around, you might look at it a different way. The two men on the street—that could be seen in a variety of ways by a variety of cultures,” Frazee said. “I think my basic feeling has always been that I want a child who is reading a book of mine to feel at home there and to relate to it, and feel like it belongs to them. That’s my role as an illustrator.”