This Day in June

Chicago Couple Tries and Fails to Ban Children’s Book

The West Chicago Public Library started a bit of a stir after a three-year-old girl asked her mother about a book she had found in the children’s section.

 

This Day in June by Gayle E. Pitman depicts colorful drawings of a gay pride parade and its attendants. Included is a guide aimed at helping parents explain the subject matter to their children should they choose to do so. This is the only copy at the West Chicago Public Library, which houses a catalog of almost 66,000 books.

 

Although the book was designed for children between four and eight-years-old, Michaela and Kurt Jaros were shocked and appalled by the subject matter. They proclaimed the book inappropriate and demanded its removal from the library, or at a minimum its relocation to a section housing adult books. 

 

Illustration from "This Day in June"

Image Courtesy of Arena Illustration

 

Library director Benjamin Weseloh and Maria Dalianis, a patron of the library, have spoken out against the book’s removal and the claim of inappropriate content. “This book is not sexual in any way. In my opinion, that’s being read into it,” said Weseloh. Dalianis added, “Whatever is in the library, it’s the parents’ responsibility to monitor their children and decide what’s right for them.”

 

The board of the West Chicago Public Library ultimately voted 6-1 in favor of keeping This Day in June in the children’s section. 

 

While Michaela’s (allegedly) concerned that a children’s book featuring homosexuals might turn her toddler gay, Kurt Jaros has his own agenda as the director of Defenders Media, an alliance of evangelical ministries that advocates a Christian worldview. He works alongside the Illinois Family Institute, which the Southern Poverty Law Center has deemed a hate group, alongside 916 others, despite their ongoing denials.

 

My wife doesn’t perceive that she should have to be a helicopter parent. She feels like the library is not providing a safe place for children to explore children’s books. At the very least, this book should be moved to the parental section. I don’t think we see other children’s books showing these sorts of images.

 

Illustration from "This Day in June"

Image Courtesy of Arena Illustrations

 

Illustration from "This Day in June"

Image Courtesy of Arena Illustrations

 

Harrowing.

 

I’d like to introduce the Jaroses to The Care & Keeping of You: A Body Book for Girls by Valorie Schaefer, published by American Girl. Known among the women and girls of my generation as “The Ultimate Puberty Bible,” it’s the quintessential guide to navigating young womanhood.

 

Care and Keeping of You Cover

Image Courtesy of Amazon

 

Care and Keeping of You: section on bras

Image Courtesy of Buzzfeed

 

Care and Keeping of You: section on breasts

Image Courtesy of Not Your Average Mom

 

Care and Keeping of You: section on tampons

Image Courtesy of Not Your Average Mom

 

Yeah, that’s a vagina. Your children might see that. Yikes, they might even see their own!

 

Despite the arguably explicit content, the book is educational with tips and tricks for the girl traversing her own body. Negating the good these books provide by proclaiming them inappropriate will only create future generations that are apathetic and uninformed.

 

Care and Keeping of You: Other helpful sections

Images Courtesy of American Girl

 

Care and Keeping of You: Other helpful sections

Images Courtesy of American Girl

 

When I was a young girl, asking my mother about anything going on with my body, my hormones, or my developing mental health was at the very, very bottom of my to do list. This book allowed me all the tools I needed to avoid those awkward developmental conversations with my mother. Shouldn’t we afford that same luxury to our LGBT youth?

 

Published in 1998, universally lauded, and ranked 69th in overall book sales on Amazon, the worst review I found of The Care and Keeping of You isn’t even a bad review.

 

Negative review of Care and Keeping of You

Image Courtesy of American Girl

 

Here’s hoping teamgale’s daughters don’t reach puberty before 11.

 

Michaela Jaros and American Girl Doll user teamgale have a lot in common. They’re both trying to protect their children from something they don’t need to be protected from: humanity. 

 

On her publisher’s website, Gayle Pitman speaks about her motivations behind the book.

 

When I wrote this story, I wanted Pride to be featured as realistically as possible. I wanted to see drag queens, guys in leather, rainbows, political signs, the Dykes on Bikes — everything you would see at Pride. … There’s something very powerful about allowing something to be portrayed authentically because it teaches children in an indirect way to be as authentic as they can.

 

This Day in June doesn’t try to explain the emotional and sexual intricacies of homosexuality. It depicts the love and acceptance that gay pride parades provide the LGBT community throughout the nation. Knowledge that the LGBT community exists should not be limited to adults. 

 

The original American Girl body book was rereleased as two volumes in 2013 in order to reach and educate a broader range of young girls. The West Chicago Public Library currently carries 11 copies of The Care and Keeping of You: The Body Book for Younger Girls, Revised Edition and 15 copies of the sequel The Care and Keeping of You 2: The Body Book for Older Girls
 

Care and Keeping of You: Volumes 1 and 2

Image Courtesy of Everyday Savvy

 

Featured image courtesy of Amazon.