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Scholastic [U.S.] tries to censor kids’ book with same-sex couple characters [UPDATED]

Publishers are often called upon to defend their books against people and organizations (parents, school boards, governments, self-appointed morality squads, etc.) who attempt to ban or suppress them.

In the case of a new tween novel by Colorado author Lauren Myracle, however, it’s another publisher that is doing the censoring:

Don’t expect to see Lauren Myracle’s new book Luv Ya Bunches (Abrams/Amulet, 2009) at Scholastic school book fairs this year. It’s been censored “ at least for now “ due to its language and homosexual content.

Luv Ya Bunches, about four elementary school girls who have little in common, but bond over the fact that they’re all named after flowers, is the first installment of a four-book series. But Scholastic says the book, released on October 1, failed to meet its vetting process because it contains offensive language and same-sex parents of one of the main characters, Milla.

The company sent a letter to Myracle’s editor asking the author to omit certain words such as “geez,” “crap,” “sucks,” and “God” (as in, “oh my God”) and to alter its plotline to include a heterosexual couple. Myracle agreed to get rid of the offensive language “with the goal “ as always “ of making the book as available to as many readers as possible,” but the deal breaker was changing Milla’s two moms.

UPDATE: Under pressure, Scholastic U.S. has released a statement saying it will include Myracle’s novel in its middle school book fairs (though presumably not its elementary school fairs), and furthermore, that the company “does not censor books.”