Bunny Suicides Complainant Douses Book-Burning Talk

Bunny Suicides Complainant Douses Book-Burning Talk

When her 13-year-old son checked out a dark-humor cartoon collection, The Book of Bunny Suicides, from the Central Linn High School Library in Halsey, Oregon, Taffey Anderson decided that British artist Andy Riley’s drawings of self-destructive rabbits were neither funny nor appropriate reading for younger children. She filed a written request with the school district October 20 to have the book reviewed, but neglected to return it to the library. An initial report in the October 19 Albany (Oreg.) Democrat-Herald quoted Anderson as saying, “They’re not getting this book back,” and threatening to burn it.

However, Anderson told American Libraries that the book was returned October 24 to the library, which serves both junior high and high school students. After the story was picked up by wire services and prompted unfavorable editorials and blog posts, Anderson softened her stance. “I was talking completely out of anger,” she said. “I did apologize in the newspaper and should never have said that, but I don’t think it’s a book for school-age children.” She also indicated she would be satisfied if the book was kept behind the circulation desk and restricted to high school students.

High school Principal Julie Knoedler told AL that the school superintendent had put together a review committee to consider the book, but a meeting date had not yet been set. The group is supposed to “return a written report of its findings” six weeks after being appointed, according to the school district’s guidelines. “We’ve only had one other challenge recently, and that was last year,” Knoedler said. “It was a graphic novel and the decision was to place it on restricted checkout where students would have to ask for it.”

Jon Mathis, a Portland real estate agent, was one of several bibliophiles who donated a replacement copy of Riley’s book to the high school. He also gave Central Linn copies of Huckleberry Finn, Catcher in the Rye, and To Kill a Mockingbird, all books that have turned up on the American Library Association’s most frequently challenged list. The ALA Office for Intellectual Freedom told AL it knew of no previous challenges of the Bunny Suicides book.

Posted on October 28, 2008. Discuss.