As the mother of a young child who visits the National Library, I read the National Library Board’s (NLB) decision to withdraw the books And Tango Makes Three and The White Swan Express from its catalogue with great dismay and alarm.
It appears that these two books were withdrawn due to feedback that their content was not in line with the NLB’s strong pro-family stance.
However, at the core of these two stories is the concept of family.
Thus, it would appear that the NLB has deemed the content of these books unacceptable not because it is not pro-family, but because the families depicted do not fit squarely with what some would consider a family.
Their withdrawal on this basis should be a cause for concern. It goes against the values of tolerance and the embracing of diversity — which we should strive to impart to children — while also imposing the values of a particular group on the masses.
Given that the books are pitched at a young audience with adult supervision to be expected, instead of withdrawing them, parents should be allowed to choose whether their children have access to them or not.
Parents should not rely solely on the NLB to police the content of the books which their children have access to. To do so would be grossly irresponsible.
At its heart are two beautifully-written books, which convey the tender message that families come in all shapes and sizes and that love knows no bounds.
I ask that the NLB reconsider its decision to withdraw these two books and ensure that children have access to a variety of books, not only those that echo the values of a particular group in society.