Squeals of protest
A children’s book about guinea pigs with a nonchalant attitude toward same-sex marriage has made its debut on a national list.
“Uncle Bobby’s Wedding” (Putnam) by first-time author and illustrator Sarah S. Brannen was one of the 10 most frequently challenged books of 2008. The list is compiled annually by the American Library Association.
On Saturday in Chicago, Brannen and other authors on the list will read from their works to kick off Banned Books Week.
“People have called the book a lot of awful names,’’ said Brannen, who lives in a suburb of Boston. In 2008, protests were lodged with some libraries. Some patrons said same-sex marriage should not be mentioned in a children’s book.
Next month Brannen will visit a town in Colorado where the library director answered a parent’s challenge of her book with an open letter about freedom of expression. Director Jamie LaRue wrote, “Our whole system of government was based on the idea that the purpose of the state was to preserve individual liberties, not to dictate them.”
McCaffrey’s book was published this month by Small Beer Press, co-owned by Gavin Grant and Kelly Link, who once worked at the Victor Hugo. They complied happily with McCaffrey’s request his book be set in - what else? - Baskerville typeface.
The annual literary gathering, now in its fifth year, celebrates Vermont history and fine writing from all over. Novelist Joyce Maynard, biographer Blake Bailey, and music critic Anthony DeCurtis are on the schedule.
■ “Going Away Shoes: Stories,” by Jill McCorkle (Algonquin Books)
Jan Gardner can be reached at JanLGardner@yahoo.com.