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Wednesday, December 07, 2022

Why was this author told he couldn’t read his book about a proud unicorn for kids? Nation World News

A children’s author says she was not allowed to read her book about a proud, colorful unicorn to a group of students in Ohio because the school board thought it would “recruit children to become gay. “

Jason Tharp says he was shocked when told he couldn’t read or reference it’s okay to be a unicorn Earlier this month during his visit to Buckeye Valley West Elementary in Ostrander, Ohio.

The book follows the story of Cornelius, a unicorn who hides his identity by wearing a hat as he lives in a city full of horses. Eventually, he learns to embrace who he really is, and is welcomed and supported by his friends and community.

“This book has been out for two years. I’ve read it to thousands of kids and gone to a lot of schools, and it never came out,” Tharp said. as it happens Guest host Dave Segglins.

“It’s not my job to protect adults who project their insecurities onto a children’s book [about] Unicorn and rainbow and magic.”

complaint to parents

Tharp’s school tour was originally scheduled for 2020 but was postponed due to the pandemic.

In preparation for his arrival, students decorated the school with art drawn from Tharp’s characters, and school administrators bought 500 copies of his books, including It’s okay to be a unicorn.

But the morning before Tharp’s scheduled April 7 appearance, he says he got a call from the school principal warning him that plans had changed.

“It was very clear from the get-go … that it was not coming from him. It was coming from above him, and [he was] Just like being the messenger,” Tharp said.

“And I interrupted him, because I think he was having a hard time saying it, and I said, ‘Did anyone think I made a gay book? Tharp said.

He said the principal told him that a parent had complained about the book.

“What I was told was that it was unicorns and rainbows, and I was coming up with an agenda of recruiting kids to be gay,” Tharp said.

I don’t think you wouldn’t want children to read. They are always curious.–Jason Tharp, children’s book author

Tharp says he offered to read her another book, the smell is good!, How about a badass who stands out because he likes good smelling things.

But the school board rejected that idea as well. In an email, seen by CBC, the board asked Tharp to “discard” the reading and instead “continue to focus on his positive message and pictures.”

The school’s interim superintendent Jeremy Froehlich did not respond to a request for comment from aIt happens. But he did WBNS. told That a parent complained about the book on 6 April.

‘Extensive efforts to censor books’

Tharp isn’t the only children’s writer whose work has recently been questioned.

in November, The American Library Association issued a press release Condemning “a widespread effort to censor books” across the country, noting that school and library books were being challenged at an “unprecedented” rate.

in March, An assistant principal fired in Mississippi After reading a humorous children’s book the students are asked I need a new butt.

Meanwhile, Florida and several other states have passed or proposed legislation. Restricting content about sexual orientation, gender in schools And critical race theory

Toby Price
Toby Price, a former assistant principal at Gary Road Elementary School in Hinds County, Miss., was fired for reading one of his favorite children’s books, I Need a New Butt. (Submitted by Toby Price)

Tharp said it’s okay to be a unicorn It is her way of reaching out to children who feel different and teaching them to be themselves.

He said that this is actually his own story of growing up in a small town with big dreams.

The book is not meant to be a metaphor about sexual orientation or gender identity, but Tharp said he “absolutely” understands why an LGBTQ child would identify with a Cornelius unicorn.

“But also the kid who’s in a wheelchair, and the kid who’s got a broken arm, and that kid who feels different, that kid with a weird name, or that kid who wears glasses,” he said.

“Like, they’re all baby unicorns, right? They’re all feeling different. And that was the mission of the book.”

students’ art exposed

Several parents and teachers in Buckeye spoke out in defense of Tharp during 8 April Emergency school board meeting, which was broadcast on YouTube,

Kylan Brazelton, a parent and teacher at the school, lamented that teachers were forced to take pictures of unicorns and rainbows made by students. She said it was “gut-wrenching” because the students were “so confused”.

“That book was about making students feel and know that they always have a place in the world. Always, no matter how weird they feel. We wanted them to know that it’s okay to be weird because it is, ” He said.

Another woman, whose name was not recorded, said the students had “worked hard” on their paintings.

“It’s a public school. All walks of life are paying taxes. All walks of life should be represented,” she said.

Unicorn Art Removed
Tharp says a supporter sent her before and after images of a window at Buckeye Valley West Elementary. On the left, the window is decorated with a children’s portrait of Cornelius the Unicorn. On the right, the unicorn picture has been replaced with characters from Tharp’s other books. (Submitted by Jason Tharp)

Despite everything, Tharp still appeared for the event as he didn’t want to disappoint the kids. He made a presentation, but did not do any reading, and did not reference It’s okay to be a unicorn.

He says the crisis could have been avoided if the parents had simply reached out to him to have a conversation.

He says he plans to continue writing books that help children feel accepted and loved.

“The best thing about it is I don’t think you wouldn’t want to read to kids. They’re always going to be curious,” he said.

“And to me, that’s where the magic lies. They can be present. We can’t. Adults like to ruin it for the kids. I think adults can learn a lot from kids if they can.” Just, you know, sit down, shut up and listen.”


Written by Sheena Goodyear. Interview with Jason Tharp, produced by Chris Harbour.

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