Controversy Erupts as North Carolina School Bans Bestselling Young Adult Fantasy Novel

Introduction: Banning of ‘A Court of Frost and Starlight’

A popular young adult fantasy novel, ‘A Court of Frost and Starlight’ by Sarah J. Maas, has been banned by a North Carolina school board following concerns raised by a local parent regarding explicit content in the book.

Reasons for Banning: Graphic Sexual Content

The book, which is a companion to Maas’s ‘A Court of Thorns and Roses’ series, includes a lengthy and graphic sex scene involving a male and female character.

This content led school officials to deem it too explicit for students.

Access to Digital Version and Parental Control

While the committee voted to remove physical copies of the book from school libraries, they support student access to the digital version through ONE Access, a partnership with the CM Public Library.

Parents have the option to opt out if they do not want their children to access the book in this manner.

Usage and Availability

Before the ban, ‘A Court of Frost and Starlight’ was available in 22 schools and had been checked out 62 times, as reported by Kim Ray, the director of library services at Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools.

Popular Series and Previous Bans

The ‘Court of Thorns and Roses’ series, known for its blend of romance, adventure, and faerie lore, has garnered a global readership, with over 13 million copies sold worldwide.

However, some of Maas’s works, including ‘A Court of Mist and Fury’ and ‘Empire of Storms,’ were listed among the most banned books of the 2022-2023 school year by PEN America.

Response from PEN America

Kasey Meehan, director of the Freedom to Read project at PEN America, expressed disappointment over the ban, highlighting the deprivation of Maas’s writing to North Carolina students, especially in the context of an increasing trend of book bans.

Parental Power Under New Law

North Carolina parents were granted increased authority over book selections in schools through the Parent’s Bill of Rights, passed in August.

This law allows parents to review and challenge books, and the complaints against ‘A Court of Frost and Starlight’ align with the provisions of the new legislation.

Parent’s Perspective

Local parent Brooke Weiss, who is also the head of the Mecklenburg County chapter of the conservative activist group Moms for Liberty, filed multiple complaints against different books with the Mecklenburg board.

She defended the decision to ban ‘A Court of Frost and Starlight,’ stating that the series was written for adults and was too sexually explicit and mature for an educational setting.

She emphasized that the books were still accessible in public libraries.

Other Complaints by Ms. Weiss

Apart from ‘A Court of Frost and Starlight,’ Ms. Weiss raised concerns about several other books, including ‘Nineteen Minutes’ by Jodi Picoult, ‘Sold’ by Patricia McCormick, ‘Tricks’ by Ellen Hopkins, and ‘Jack of Hearts’ by L.C. Rosen.

Conclusion: The Impact of Book Bans

The banning of ‘A Court of Frost and Starlight’ in North Carolina schools reflects the ongoing debate over explicit content in young adult literature, with parents, lawmakers, and organizations like PEN America taking different stances on the issue.

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