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  • Writer's pictureJoanne Jacobs

It's just kiddie sex, not pedophilia, so no worries

Jonathan Evison's Lawn Boy, doesn't belong in school libraries, say angry parents, because the graphic novel depicts an adult man having oral sex with a 10-year-old boy. Not so, writes Hannah Natanson in the Washington Post. The cartoon panel shows an adult man's memory of his first experience of oral sex with a fellow 10-year-old. I have to wonder: If it's not pedophilia -- just kids having oral sex -- does it belong in school libraries?

Author Jonathan Evison wrote the book for adults, he told The Post. He never expected it to be placed in school libraries, and was surprised when the American Library Association gave “Lawn Boy” an award in 2019 for its appeal to teens, writes Natanson."If schools want to offer the text, he said, they should restrict access to older students."

Let me repeat: The author of the book doesn't think it's suitable for young children. It's not just prudish parents.

The Post breathlessly recounts the spread of challenges to the book. which started with conservative parents who read the book and was spread by those who had not. Many critics accuse it of pedophilia or grooming children, but others say it's sexually explicit, which it is, or uses vulgar language, which it does.

The main character is Mexican American, but I don't think depicting oral sex between two white10-year-old boys would be any more acceptable to the book's opponents.

Gary Paulsen, a well-known children's author, also has a book called Lawn Boy, which is about a 12-year-old boy who starts a lawn-mowing business and learns about entrepreneurship -- but not about sex. It came out in 2009. If I were Paulsen, I'd be upset about Evison using his title nine years later.

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