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Norman parent’s questions stop author's visit to school

BY JENNIFER GRISWOLD Modified: September 22, 2009 at 10:07 am •  Published: September 22, 2009
NORMAN — A visit by a best-selling author to a Norman middle school was canceled after a parent questioned the content of one of the author’s books.

Author Ellen Hopkins was scheduled to speak to eighth-graders at Whittier Middle School today about her career, writing process and books.

Hopkins is the author of several New York Times best-selling books for young adults. She was notified Thursday her visit was canceled because a parent at the school requested a review of her book "Glass.”

The free-verse novel is the second in a series about a teen dealing with drug addiction. The novel is loosely based on Hopkins’ experience with her own daughter, who was addicted to methamphetamine.

Hopkins said it’s ironic her visit was canceled this week because the American Library Association’s Banned Books Week begins Saturday.

Norman policy allows parents to exclude their children from events or request a review of curriculum, Superintendent Joe Siano said.

A parent requested an official review of "Glass” last week. Because curriculum review is a lengthy process, a decision couldn’t be made before the author’s scheduled visit, he said.

"I made a decision that while it was under review, it wasn’t appropriate for the author visit to continue,” Siano said.

An internal committee made up of administrators, teachers and librarians will review "Glass” and possibly Hopkins’ other books to see if they should be in middle school libraries, Siano said. The district’s policy is to leave the books on the shelves until a decision is made.

"This is not an issue of the author or quality of her work,” he said. "The question is about the appropriateness of the book for this age level.”

All of Hopkins’ books deal with serious issues that teens face, she said. Know It: Parenting Know It: Addiction Know It: Books


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