Currently being pulled from libraries, schools and bookshops

The Guardian has more details on the banning of Philip Dawe’s book Into the River.

Ted Dawe’s Into the River has been banned from sale or supply by the Film and Literature Board of Review (FLBR) after a complaint from conservative lobby group Family First.

It is currently being pulled from libraries, schools and bookshops around the country.

Family First objected to sexually explicit content, drug use and the use of a slang term for female genitalia.

Pussy? Cunt? Probably not twat, in New Zealand. Minge?

Whatever – using slang words for the genitalia is just that. There’s nothing wrong with it. Using them as epithets is another matter (a distinction that is lost on surprisingly many people), but it’s still not a reason to ban a book.

And it’s not just banned from sale, it’s being pulled from libraries and schools – which is a whole other level of shocking. What’s the matter with them?

Into the River won the New Zealand Post Children’s Book award in 2013 and is aimed at a teenage, largely male audience. Dawe said this audience was hard to reach.

“I have taught in secondary schools for the past forty years. Much of this time has been spent encouraging boys to read. Part of the challenge was to find books that ‘spoke’ to them. This meant books about issues that were relevant to them and written in a style that was authentic,” he said.

“There are many issues that young adults can not take to other people. They want to do their own thinking about them. There is no better, no more private medium for this than the novel.

“In this relatively safe context the teenager can navigate through issues such as race, sexual orientation, body issues, class discrimination and bullying and harassment. They can test their responses against the main characters and calibrate the differences without the need to discuss.”

But Family First doesn’t want them to think about those things. I guess FF wants them to think about family, and nothing else.

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