When a Milwaukee-area’s demands that Francesca Lia Block’s 1995 young adult novel Baby Be-Bop (HarperCollins) be removed from local libraries was refused, the group decided to try another approach. From American Libraries:
Milwaukee-area citizen Robert C. Braun of the Christian Civil Liberties Union (CCLU) distributed at the meeting copies of a claim for damages he and three other plaintiffs filed April 28 with the city; the complainants seek the right to publicly burn or destroy by another means the library’s copy of Baby Be-Bop. The claim also demands $120,000 in compensatory damages ($30,000 per plaintiff) for being exposed to the book in a library display, and the resignation of West Bend Mayor Kristine Deiss for “allow[ing] this book to be viewed by the public.”
In her 1995 review for Booklist, Frances Bradburn said, “Librarians who are daring — and caring — enough to include this evocative, skillfully wrought, and sometimes surrealistic novel in their YA collections will help teenagers begin their adult journey toward love and the realization that, as Dirk’s great-grandmother Gazelle says, ‘Any love that is love is right.’”
Back in Wisconsin, both sides seem to be settling in for a trench war:
For the immediate future, West Bend officials will be dealing with the CCLU’s legal claim. Describing the YA novel by celebrated author Francesca Lia Block as “explicitly vulgar, racial, and anti-Christian,” the complaint by Braun, Joseph Kogelmann, Rev. Cleveland Eden, and Robert Brough explains that “the plaintiffs, all of whom are elderly, claim their mental and emotional well-being was damaged by this book at the library,” specifically because Baby Be-Bop contains the “n” word and derogatory sexual and political epithets that can incite violence and “put one’s life in possible jeopardy, adults and children alike.”
As always, January Magazine urges you to protest book-banning activities by reading a banned book.