Stephen King’s collection of novellas, Different Seasons, has been challenged in the Rocklin, California, Unified School District after a parent complained about a graphic rape scene in “Apt Pupil.” CBLDF has joined the Kids Right to Read Project to defend the novel in a letter addressed to the school district.
Most of the stories in the collection — “The Shawshank Redemption,” “The Body,” and the challenged story “Apt Pupil” — are considered some of King’s best works and all three novellas have been made into critically-acclaimed major motion pictures (the second novella was the source material for Stand By Me). The book is shelved in the library and is not part of compulsory reading lists in the district. CBLDF joins the Kids Right to Read Project, the National Coalition Against Censorship, the American Booksellers Foundation for Free Expression, the American Library Association’s Office for Intellectual Freedom, and the Free Expression Advocacy Association of American Publishers in sending the following letter:
Rocklin senior Amanda Wong was the sole student on a committee assembled by Rocklin High School to review the novel after the challenge, and she was the sole dissenter in the initial decision to remove the book from library shelves throughout the district. Wong continues to defend the retention of the book, adhering to the idea that banning one book opens the door for further removals. Her adamant defense of the title led Rocklin Unified Superintendent Kevin Brown to supersede the decision of the committee. Brown ruled that the high school committee could not make a decision for the entire district. Unfortunately, the book is not in the clear. A district-wide committee has been assembled to review Different Seasons, with a decision due in the next few weeks.