In the News: Marie-Louise Gay and Book Bans
Last week was Banned Books Week in the United States. During that week, it came to our attention that Read Me a Story, Stella by Marie-Louise Gay was flagged for removal from the children’s section in one public library system. Below is our response, in full, as has been shared with journalists and news media outlets.
We are deeply disturbed by the autocratic and uninformed censorship of books in the Huntsville-Madison County Public Library system.
Although it is obviously laughable that our picture book, Read Me a Story, Stella, shows up on their list of censored books simply because the author’s last name is “Gay,” the ridiculousness of that fact should not detract from the seriousness of the situation.
There are many, many excellent children’s books on the list, including another Groundwood picture book, Morris Micklewhite and the Tangerine Dress. And although the focus here seems to be on LGBTQ+ content, books such as Angie Thomas’s The Hate U Give, Sherman Alexie’s The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, and Rainbow Rowell’s Eleanor & Park, also make appearances.
This proves, as always, that censorship is never about limiting access to this book or that one. It is about sending the message to children that certain ideas—or even certain people—are not worthy of discussion or acknowledgement or consideration.
This is a hateful message in a place like a public library, where all children are meant to feel safe, and where their curiosity about the world is meant to be nurtured.
Groundwood Books stands with authors, illustrators, fellow publishers, library associations and young readers in denouncing censorship and championing the ideals of freedom of expression, freedom to publish, and freedom to read.