The mayor of Venice has removed books about homosexuality from the city’s schools.
Mayor Luigi Brugnaro released a statement saying he “decided to recall all the books distributed by the previous administration so as to be able to establish without haste whether they are, or indeed are not, suitable for children of pre-school age”.
He said certain books were distributed in schools without asking the parents, who “must, however, have a say on crucial issues that affect the education of their children”.
Books removed include Little Egg by Francesca Pardi and the French book Jean Has Two Mums by Orphalie Texier. Brugnaro said his administration will now examine books to see if they are suitable to be reissued.
Brugnaro said books about physical, religious and racial discrimination, such as Little Blue and Little Yellow by Leo Lionni, remain in libraries, an that he would not be intimidated by the “cultural arrogance” of those who disagree with his decision.
According to Newsweek, libraries are reportedly up in arms about the decision and are encouraging people to read the removed books with signs saying "blacklisted books: be a rebel, read them”.
Brugnaro’s announcement comes at a time when many people in the UK are calling for more books featuring full acceptance of homosexuality. Earlier this month Liberal Democrat leadership contender Norman Lamb said Peppa Pig stories should feature gay characters.
Many publishers are releasing books with LGBTQ characters this year, including Orion Children (Read Me Like a Book by Liz Kessler) and Hot Key Books (All of the Above by James Dawson).