In late February, a school board in northern Wyoming banned A Bad Boy Can be Good for a Girl, by Tanya Lee Stone. The book, written in poetry verse format, has received numerous awards, including ALA’s Quick Picks for Reluctant Readers, School Library Journal Book of the Month, and was nominated for ALA’s Best Books for Young Adults and ALA’s Popular Paperbacks for Young Adults. The book has also received awards from the New York Public Library, Texas, Maryland, and Kentucky.
In a starred review, School Library Journal said the following: “Three girls succumb to the charms of one sexy high school senior and emerge wiser for the experience in this energetic novel in verse…The free verse gives the stories a breathless, natural flow and changes tone with each narrator. The language is realistic and frank, and, while not graphic, it is filled with descriptions of the teens and their sexuality. This is not a book that will sit quietly on any shelf; it will be passed from girl to girl to girl.”
Libba Bray, a New York Times best-selling author, said the following about the book: “..crawl-under-the-skin true filled with humor, hope, a little heartbreak, and the kind of tell-it-like-it-is wisdom that comes from your best girlfriends. It’s irresistible.”
The book was removed on a 5-1 vote, and one Cody school board member called it “trashy,” the Casper Star-Tribune reported. Those who objected had not read the book, according to a news report in The Cody Enterprise.
The lone trustee voting to keep the book said “it was a slippery slope to ban a book,” the newspaper report added.
The Cody Enterprise reported that, “The motion also moved the school to immediately implement the Alexandria library software to notify parents of books being checked out of district libraries by their children. It will include an opt out for parents who do not wish to be notified.”
NCTE has 21 different position statements promoting students’ rights to read dating back to 1970, including a 1981 Resolution on Opposition to Censorship. It reads, “In this resolution, NCTE members expressed concern that censorship attempts were increasing and showed evidence of being better organized than in previous decades. Be it therefore [r]esolved, that in the face of increasing censorship the members of the National Council of Teachers of English reaffirm the student’s right of access to a wide range of books and other learning materials under the guidance of qualified teachers and librarians; and that all English teachers be urged to resist censorship by employing points of view and approaches recommended in “The Students’ Right to Read” and other NCTE publications on censorship.”