The Oklahoma House of Representatives has passed a resolution that asks libraries to move gay-themed children's books to the adult section.
The book that allegedly so offended a parent that the Oklahoma lawmakers got involved? King & King, by Linda de Haan and Stern Nijland, an import from the Netherlands. (The title of the book is not "King of Kings," as reported by KOTV.) In King & King, two princes fall in love and marry. The followup, by the way, is King & King & Family, in which the kings adopt a daughter.
King & King is not new to controversy. According to the American Library Assocation, de Haan's and Nijland's work was one of the ten most frequently challenged books in the U.S last year, along with Dav Pilkey's Captain Underpants series and Maurice Sendak's In the Night Kitchen.
When King & King was published here in the States, neither Publishers Weekly nor School Library Journal was crazy about the art work, though SLJ commended the book for its "good intentions."
(Thanks to maudnewton.com for the news bulletin on this subject.)
Follow-up: May 18th. A North Carolina congressman has taken to carrying King & King around with him, not to read aloud to his august colleagues in the U.S. House of Represenatives but to promote his Parental Empowerment Act of 2005, a proposal to restrict federal funds to "states that fail to adopt guidelines for elementary-school book purchases...." You can read more about the topic here, in the Jacksonville, North Carolina, Daily News. Gosh, what funny timing. They're all upset about this book in Oklahoma, too.
May 20: And now a Louisiana state rep, prompted by a constituent reportedly upset over King & King, is offering yet another resolution. Click the link for the (New Orleans) Times- Picayune article. May 26 update: The Louisiana resolution died in committee. Times-Picayune reporter Ed Anderson writes:
Charlene Cain, who chairs the intellectual freedom committee of the
Louisiana Library Association, urged the panel to kill the resolution.
"We are talking about pre-emptive censorship," she said. "Some parents
may want their children to read this book. . . . I would not want
someone telling my child what to read.
May 21: NPR's Jennifer Ludden talks to Nathalie op de Beeck about "Same Sex Parents: A New Theme in Kids' Books," including King & King. Op de Beeck, a professor at Illinois State University, recently wrote about the subject for Publishers Weekly (April 25th issue), but the article is not available online unless you have a subscription.