A Manchester parent has complained after her daughter came home from school with a copy of Juno Dawson’s This Book is Gay (Hot Key Books).
Melissa McDonald told the Manchester Evening News her 12-year-old daughter came home with the book after an author event at her school, the Manchester Health Academy.
Dawson had visited the school to promote her latest novel, Margot and Me, but McDonald’s daughter bought a copy This Book is Gay, a guide to LGBTQI sexuality, after the event.
McDonald said the content of This Book is Gay was explicit and “totally unsuitable” for a child aged 12. “My daughter loves books so I gave her the money to buy the book. But instead of Margot and Me she’s been sold this book. There’s an A to Z of everything mentioned in the book. It’s meant for 18-year-olds.”
The school has reportedly apologised to parents, saying a very small number of “age appropriate books” were sold at the event.
This Book is Gay has also attracted controversy in America, where a group of Alaskan parents tried to get it banned in 2015. The debate started when one parent’s 10-year-old child picked up the book in the juvenile young-fiction section of Wasilla Public Library. That parent asked for the book to be moved, but when library director Kathy Martin-Albright refused, more parents got involved and asked the book to be taken out of the library altogether.
At the time, Dawson told The Bookseller that the book was clearly labeled as being for YA readers.