One of the authors whose book was removed from Columbia County Schools’ supplemental reading list responded to that decision.
Nic Stone is an author from Georgia. Her book, “Dear Martin,” is about an African American male who has a run in with the cops. She says although the main character might not be what people are used to it is necessary for today’s society.
“Dear Martin” has caused an uproar in the Columbia County School System being removed from the curriculum. The main character in the novel writes to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. to figure out if his teachings coincide with the 21st century.
“I wrote it because I didn’t really have a book like it when I was a teenager,” says Stone, “and I think it would have helped me a lot. There are a lot of experiences in the book that came from my own life.”
According to Columbia County’s report, the topic of concern was “racial tendencies as a negative attribute of society.”
Stone says other books have topics about racism, but they are simply dated when it comes to what is happening in the world today.
“Is there a book on the curriculum that is not ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’ or ‘Huck Finn’ about racism? What are the book in the curriculum, not even just on the curriculum, that are allowed in the schools that you are highlighting that help students figure out and think about issues of our time now?” asks Stone.
We asked Columbia County Schools for the minutes on the Novel Committee meeting that discussed these books, and they were not available.
“I think about books like, I mean I guarantee you nobody pulled ‘Catcher in the Rye’ from their library. That book has more instances of the ‘f’ bomb than any book in history. So, it isn’t really about language. There is no sexuality in my book,” says Stone. “Like what are we actually talking about here?”
She is not mad that her book was banned. She says it is upsetting that those who cannot afford her book and don’t have the tools to access it have now been swiped the opportunity to learn about what, she says, is real life society issues in the classroom.
“I’m going to go down to Columbia County have a public event where I give a talk, where I talk about the book, where I talk about censorship, where I talk about the world as it is, where I talk about racism,” says Stone, “and kids can come hear me speak. They can come meet me. I will sign their books that they are going to get for free.”
According to a Richmond County School Newsletter, they say that “Dear Martin” is on the 2019-2020 Helen Ruffin Reading Bowl book list. We reached out to Columbia County Schools and they say none of their students are participating in the competition.