Graphic novel at school book fair deemed offensive, inappropriate by some parents

Some of the pages in the graphic novel Heartstopper feature intimate scenes and expletives.
Published: Sep. 2, 2023 at 9:07 AM EDT
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MAINEVILLE, Ohio (WXIX) - Some concerned parents want a special committee to screen books sold at book fairs after a book they call offensive and inappropriate was for sale at their book fair.

Author Alice Oseman lists her book, Heartstopper, as a graphic novel on her website.

The book was being sold at Little Miami School District’s Scholastic Book Fair in August.

“It’s more than foul language,” said Silas Shelton, who is the father of a middle school student in the Little Miami School District. “There’s so much sexual innuendo, especially in Heartstopper.”

The book is described on the author’s website as “Boy meets boy. Boys become friends. Boys fall in love. A bestselling LGBTQ+ graphic novel about life, love, and everything that happens in between.”

Some of the pages in the graphic novel feature intimate scenes and expletives.

“You’ve got these kids that are having to think about things they really shouldn’t be thinking about at all,” explained Shelton.

Like Shelton, David Wallace is also a concerned parent who does not think the book is appropriate for kids.

He wrote a letter to Little Miami School Board members asking them to cease all scheduled Scholastic Book Fairs in the district until an independent team can determine that the books made available to students are age-appropriate and in accordance with Little Miami values and policies.

“We’re talking, this is for 11 and 14-year-olds, and certainly, the language that is used in this book would not be allowed at school,” Wallace said.

Representatives of the school district sent FOX19 NOW a statement in response to Wallace’s letter.

Greater Cincinnati Human Rights representatives are advocating that books like Heartstopper continue to be available for students to purchase at book fairs.

In Mississippi, the graphic novel raised concerns from parents after it was placed in the young adult section of a public library, according to FOX19 NOW’s sister station WDAM.

A meeting was held and it resulted in Heartstopper being temporarily removed from the library shelves, WDAM reported on Aug. 9.

The library board of supervisors in the Mississippi county met and unanimously voted to move the novel to the adult section, WDAM said on Aug. 18.

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