Book pulled from elementary library shelves

By Marlena Hartz: CNJ staff writer

A suspense novel once on the shelves of three Clovis elementary school libraries has been banned following complaints from a Clovis resident.

Librarians with Clovis schools banned “Daughters of Eve” by Lois Duncan from Clovis elementary schools for content they deemed inappropriate for elementary students, according to Clovis Municipal Schools Superintendent Rhonda Seidenwurm.

The novel will remain on library shelves at Clovis junior high schools and the Clovis High School, Seidenwurm said.

“There is no objection (to the book) for older, more mature kids,” Seidenwurm said.
The novel centers around the newest members of an exclusive high school club and the club’s evil leader, according to Web sites.

Donald Reid said his grandson borrowed “Daughters of Eve” from the Zia Elementary School library. Certain language and suggestive actions in the book are “not appropriate for a fifth-grade student,” Reid said.

Reid never lodged a formal complaint with the schools against the book, but school officials learned of his concerns and decided to review the entire novel earlier this week to determine if it was appropriate for elementary-aged students, school officials said.

“We want parents to be confident that if their child chooses a book from our library, it is one that will be appropriate for their age level,” said Zia Elementary Principal Jarilyn Butler, who brought the book to the attention of school administrators.

Books in many Clovis school libraries are labeled according to reading level, rather than by age appropriateness, school officials said.

However, age appropriateness of reading materials is a factor in choosing books for libraries in Clovis schools, Seidenwurm said. Typically, books are chosen for the libraries by school librarians from national lists of recommended books, Seidenwurm said.

“Once in a while something slides through,” Seidenwurm said. “What I am not willing to do,” she said, “is remove a book from a library just because a particular person is upset about a particular thing.”

Butler said it’s up to school personnel to ensure books are appropriate for children.
“‘To Kill a Mockingbird’ is a great book, but it is not appropriate for elementary school students,” the Zia principal said.

“We have to be vigilant,” she said.

Duncan, a former resident of New Mexico, has written more than 40 suspense and horror novels for teens and has garnered numerous awards for her work. The film, “I Know What You Did Last Summer,” was based on her novel of the same title.

Via e-mail, Duncan said she agreed with the decision.

“That’s not an age-appropriate book for elementary school libraries,” she said in the e-mail.

Her novels have been lauded for their realistic portrayal of social dilemmas faced by teens and for their moral messages.

Other schools have banned her novels, according to Web sites.