Florida Book Bans Could Soon Include a Children's Book Based On the PBS Show ‘Arthur’
Arthur's Birthday is the book in question.
In this children's book, Arthur and Muffy are having their birthday parties on the same day and all of their friends are split between the two. Arthur and Francine hatch a clever scheme to make sure Arthur and Muffy have the best birthdays yet!
However, in a document seeking to challenge the book based on the popular PBS children’s TV series, "damaged souls" was what read at the top of a page submitted to the Clay County School District in Florida. Crafted by local conservative activist Bruce Friedman, those two words were his response to the question, “What do you believe might be the result of a student using this material?” According to PNJ, Friedman submitted the document and at least seven more like it in July with the hope to have the books removed from libraries and classrooms throughout the district.
Friedman’s challenge stems from the end of the book where Arthur receives a “Spin the Bottle” present from Francine. The last page of the book reads, “Happy birthday, Arthur” and shows an illustration of Arthur, surrounded by his friends, holding a half-opened gift that reads “Francine’s Spin-the-Bottle Game.”
“Protect children,” Friedman wrote in his challenge. “It is not appropriate to discuss ‘Spin the Bottle’ with elementary school children."
The current status of the book is "Pending Oversight Committee Review," which means the book will remain out of circulation until the three-person committee reviews the challenge. The committee can immediately ban the book, reject the challenge, or send the challenge to a larger book review committee for evaluation.
The Florida Department of Education is set to publish a full list of books that have been removed from schools throughout the state by the end of August.