Huntington Beach Residents Raise Awareness About ‘Inappropriate’ Books in Kids’ Section of Libraries

Huntington Beach Residents Raise Awareness About ‘Inappropriate’ Books in Kids’ Section of Libraries

A group of Huntington Beach residents organized a pop-up event to raise awareness over what they say are “inappropriate” books in the children’s section of the city's library, at the city hall in Huntington Beach, Calif., on April 16, 2024. (Courtesy of Patricia Pappas)

Micaela Ricaforte

Micaela Ricaforte

4/18/2024

Updated: 4/22/2024

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A group of Huntington Beach residents organized what they called a pop-up event April 16 to raise awareness over what they say are “inappropriate” books in the children’s section of the city’s libraries.
The battle over whether some children’s books contain sexual content—including those that mention homosexuality and transgenderism, and illustrations of nude bodies and sex acts for educational purposes—has been a topic of debate in the city over the past year.
In October, the city council voted to approve a resolution, introduced by Mayor Gracey Van Der Mark, to create a panel of community members with oversight of the books in the city’s five libraries.
Huntington Beach Public Library in Huntington Beach, Calif., on June 21, 2023. (Julianne Foster/The Epoch Times)

Huntington Beach Public Library in Huntington Beach, Calif., on June 21, 2023. (Julianne Foster/The Epoch Times)

Under the resolution, the panel reviews books and then asks city libraries to move those with sexual content out of the children’s section and require a parent or guardian’s consent to access such materials.
However, residents Patricia Pappas and Jeanne Paris say there are still “inappropriate” books in the children’s section of the library.
Ms. Pappas said that after the resolution was passed, the librarians were to move the books with explicit content from the children’s and teens’ section to a new “youth-restricted” section of the library.
The new ordinance also creates two options for library cards for minors—one with access to the “youth-restricted” section and one without—with parents deciding which library card their child receives.
However, she and Ms. Paris said that when they went to one of the libraries to check on April 12, the “youth-restricted” section was empty, and some of the books that were requested to be moved were still on the children’s and teens’ shelves.
“People didn’t believe that the books were still in the library, so I thought, you know what, we just need to bring the books to our pop-up display, and just show the books in question,” Ms. Paris told The Epoch Times.
One of those books the two displayed was “It’s Perfectly Normal,” which describes itself as a “book on sex, sexuality, bodies, and puberty.”
The book contains several graphic sexual illustrations, including depictions of masturbation and nude bodies, that Ms. Paris said she considered inappropriate for young children.
The Civic Center in Huntington Beach, Calif., on Sept. 29, 2020. (John Fredricks/The Epoch Times)

The Civic Center in Huntington Beach, Calif., on Sept. 29, 2020. (John Fredricks/The Epoch Times)

Another book called “All Boys Aren’t Blue,” aimed at a teen audience, contains mentions of “sexual assault (including molestation), loss of virginity, homophobia, racism and anti-blackness,” according to a note from the author at the beginning of the book, adding that “these discussions may at times be a bit graphic.”
The pop-up comes as some state lawmakers are looking to stop libraries from excluding books based on “the topic, views, ideas, or opinions contained in the materials,” and “from banning materials that may include sexual content, unless that content qualifies as obscene under United States Supreme Court precedent,” according to an April 11 press release from Assemblyman Al Muratsuchi.
Assembly Bill 1825, also known as the California Freedom to Read Act, was introduced by Mr. Muratsuchi in January and passed the Assembly’s Education Committee on April 10.
It will now go before the Assembly Judiciary Committee for a hearing in the coming weeks.
Ms. Pappas told The Epoch Times that she thought it was a parent’s right—not the state’s—to decide what their child should read.
“The Freedom to Read legislation is really just another way for Sacramento to attempt to take away the rights of parents and communities to protect their children and teens from pornographic materials in libraries and educational institutions,” she said.
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Micaela Ricaforte

Micaela Ricaforte

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Micaela Ricaforte covers education in Southern California for The Epoch Times. In addition to writing, she is passionate about music, books, and coffee.

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