A book with LGBT+ characters has been removed from libraries in elementary schools in Ottawa, Canada’s capital, for not being “age appropriate.”
Drama, which is written and illustrated by Raina Telgemeier, portrays a student who wants to take part in her middle school’s theatre production.
Drama includes LGBT+ characters and themes
It includes LGBT+ characters including two boys, who share a kiss onstage.
The novel was widely praised for its progressive themes and received a Stonewall Book Award in 2013.
Scholastic Canada, a children’s book distributor in the country, rated the graphic novel as appropriate for 10 to 14 year olds.
Drama has also proved controversial in the US for its LGBT+ content and has been banned from schools in Texas.
“Yes, DRAMA got banned in Ottawa’s Catholic elementary schools. And all this time we thought Canada was our most progressive sibling!”
—Author Raina Telgemeier
It is included in the American Library Association’s list of the top 10 most challenged books.
In emails obtained by CBC News, Ottawa Catholic School Board elementary schools are ordered to remove the books.
Book “not necessarily” removed for LGBT+ content
One email, dated January, reportedly shows Robert Long, co-ordinator of learning technology and support at the board, informing librarians that the books would instead be moved to middle and high schools where they will “more appropriately target 13+ students.”
He said the decision to remove the books was taken by a “religion co-ordinator” or a superintendent.
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Long claimed that the decision to remove the book was “not necessarily for the LGBTQ content.”
“The problem with the book is the actual relationship content,” he wrote.
“It is not a book we really need younger kids reading without guidance.”
Ottawa Catholic School Board declined an interview with CBC News.
It refused to confirm if the books had been removed from elementary schools.
Author Telgemeier, meanwhile, took to Twitter to respond to CBC News’ article.
“Yes, DRAMA got banned in Ottawa’s Catholic elementary schools,” she wrote.
“And all this time we thought Canada was our most progressive sibling!
“I’m sad for the kids who need this book but can’t access it.”