A Michigan elementary school has banned the latest “Captain Underpants” novel from its book fair because one of the main characters is gay, according to a report by WXYZ in Detroit.
Arborwood Elementary School in Monroe, Mich., won’t be stocking Dav Pilkey’s “Captain Underpants and the Sensational Saga of Sir Stinks-A-Lot” at its fair, the TV station said.
The new “Captain Underpants” book continues the adventures of Harold and George, two fourth-grade students in Ohio, and the titular superhero they created. At the end of the book, it’s revealed that Harold grows up to be an artist with a domestic partner named Billy.
The decision to ban the book, which the School Library Journal considers the book suitable for children in grades 2-4, was made by the school’s parent-teacher organization, according to Monroe Public Schools Superintendent Barry Martin.
“Most of the kids come in and they buy books and the parents aren’t part of the selection,” he said. “In this case, we felt it was necessary that if this book was going to be purchased, the parent needed to be involved in that.”
Martin said that “Captain Underpants and the Sensational Saga of Sir Stinks-A-Lot,” which was published in August, will be available for online purchase.
WDIV-TV/ClickonDetroit.com reported that most parents of Arborwood students support the ban. One parent, Sherika Watkins, said: “I think at this kind of age a parent should be involved with them because they’re so young that they maybe need to be explained what this is about.”
Kimberly Rose, another parent, disagreed. “If you’re in this world, they should know about that regardless,” she said.
WDIV reported that only two students have requested the book so far at from Arborwood , where the school’s motto, according to its website, is “Preparing Students for a Changing World.”
The 12 “Captain Underpants” books have been challenged or banned frequently in American schools and libraries, mostly for their scatological humor. According to the American Library Assn., the books were the most frequently challenged ones in the nation in 2012 and 2013.
Pilkey responded to earlier attempts to ban his books in a 2014 essay for the Huffington Post. “There are some adults out there who are not amused by the things that make most children laugh, and so they try to stomp these things out,” he wrote. “As grown-ups, we need to respect our children’s rights to choose what they want to read.”