What happened

Protestors targeted library books,
library program & librarian

At the Sept. 28 meeting of the North Hunterdon-Voorhees Board of Education, protestors attacked the North Hunterdon High School Library. Watch the video; the protest begins at the 58-minute mark.

This attack has multiple prongs, against:

Lawn Boy by Jonathan Evison, a coming-of age novel about a 22-year-old working-class Mexican-American young man, whom The New York Times described as “a Holden Caulfield for a new millennium.” In its starred review, Library Journal wrote, “Evison combines humor, honesty, and anger with an insightful commentary on class that's also an effective coming-of-age novel.”

Gender Queer by Maia Kobabe, a memoir in graphic novel form about the author’s path to understanding their gender and sexuality. In its starred view, School Library Journal recommended the book for grades 9 and up, calling it “A book to be savored rather than devoured, this memoir will resonate with teens, especially fans of Alison Bechdel's Fun Home and Mason Deaver's I Wish You All the Best. It's also a great resource for those who identify as nonbinary or asexual as well as for those who know someone who identifies that way and wish to better understand.” 

​​These two titles and the nature of the protest are identical to earlier attacks in TexasVirginia, and  Ohio. These protestors appear to be working from a “hit list,”  similar to this one , suggesting that more attacks are yet to come.

  • Materials about the LGBTQ+ experience: During the public comments, community members disparaged several other titles that appear on the list of frequently banned books, including Two Boys Kissing by David Levithan, This Book is Gay by Juno Dawson, Beyond Magenta by Susan Kuklin, Being Jazz by Jazz Jennings, Parrotfish by Ellen Wittlinger, and Fun Home by Alison Bechdel (you may recall that district administrators tried unsuccessfully to ban this title in 2019; pressure from community members thwarted that attempt).
     

  • The library program: Protestors objected to the library’s annual Banned Books Week celebration, a nationwide event that takes place during the last week of September to celebrate the right to read. In the days following the NH-V board meeting, Facebook posters launched a smear campaign against the librarian at nearby Alexandria Middle School for delivering Banned Books Week presentations; those posts linked to the NH-V board meeting video.
     

  • The librarian: Angry community members disparaged the school librarian by name multiple times