GILLETTE, Wyo. – School officials are assembling a committee of community members to review a book that a woman wants removed from the libraries at two junior high schools.
Sarah Forster has asked the district to pull the book, "The Shell Lady's Daughter," from library shelves, and the book was pulled from one elementary school. The book remains at two junior high libraries.
"The teenagers in the book show such a lack of moral integrity," said Forster, a parent of three.
The 144-page book by C.S. Adler received the American Library Association's Best Young Adult Book of the Year award in 1983.
The book is about a girl who learns how to cope with her mentally ill mother. In her formal request to have the book pulled, Forster listed several "objectionable subjects" she said appear in the book, including sexual relations between teenagers, sexual thoughts, promiscuity, masturbation, deceiving parents, suicide and self-inflicted pain.
Most of those subjects appear briefly in the book, but Forster believes the references are inappropriate nonetheless.
"We need to teach girls to treasure their purity and that's going in the total opposite direction," she said.
Forster submitted a book challenge form in April after her then fourth-grade daughter found the book on a teacher's shelf and read it during independent reading time.
When Forster's daughter told her about some of the scenes, she read the book and requested that it be removed from elementary schools. The request was granted.
Now, Forster wants the book removed from libraries at Gillette's two junior high schools. The committee being assembled by Campbell County School District officials is expected to review the request in coming weeks.
Wagonwheel Elementary School's library/media specialist Mary Wegher stood behind the book as appropriate for junior high students.
"It's a good coming-of-age story about a girl who is dealing with a lot of issues that girls deal with at that age," she said. "We can't shelter our kids from reality. These are things that they are going to deal with in their life."
Wegher said the more familiar kids are with those issues, the more prepared they'll be to handle them appropriately.