John Green books come under parental fire again

Parents are protesting a couple of the books written by John Green, pictured in April receiving the Los Angeles Times Book Prize Innovator's Award.
(Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Times)

First it was Florida, then Wisconsin. John Green’s books -- though not “The Fault in Our Stars,” which became the summer movie -- have come under fire from parents.

In Pasco County, Fla., Green’s young adult novel “Paper Towns” was removed from an eighth-grade summer reading list after a parent complained that she should have been warned about its content. Joanne Corcoran’s 13-year-old daughter “came to her mother asking her the definition of ‘masturbation,’” the Tampa Bay Times reports. “Corcoran further spotted F-bombs and references to teen sex.”

“Paper Towns” was rapidly removed from the reading list, a move that attracted the attention of censorship opponents, including the National Coalition Against Censorship. This week it was reported that the book had quietly been restored.

Meanwhile, in Waukesha, Wis., parents are trying to remove another of Green’s novels, “Looking for Alaska,” from school shelves. In Waukesha County, west of Milwaukee, parents complained that the sexual content of “Looking for Alaska” is too mature for middle and high school students. As local television news station WISN reported, they think the book is “too racy to read.”


Local school officials disagreed: they decided Friday that “Looking for Alaska” will remain in the schools.

Earlier this year, parents in Strasburg, Colo., challenged both books. Letters of support sent by more than 1,000 of Green’s readers and fans may have helped sway the school board, which voted 3-2 to allow “Looking for Alaska” and “Paper Towns” to remain.

Protests against Green’s books go all the way back to 2008, when he took to his vlog to explain, “I am not a pornographer.”

Like passing notes in class; I’m @paperhaus on Twitter