Delaware students recognized after banned book controversy

Three Delaware students have won cash prizes from the National Coalition Against Censorship.

The students in the Cape Henlopen School District won the prizes for writing essays explaining why they should be allowed to read the book, “The Miseducation of Cameron Post,” which was removed from the student’s summer reading list.

The Cape Henlopen School Board voted to remove the book from the reading list for incoming freshmen in June due to inappropriate language.

The decision stirred criticism from some parents, teachers, students and literary enthusiasts, who argued that the school removed the book because the main character was a lesbian.

The book’s author, Emily M. Danforth, wrote a response to the school’s ban online post at HuffingtonPost.com.

“You’re clearly hiding behind claims of finding too much ‘inappropriate language’ in my book, when other books on the list certainly include the exact same kinds of language, in some instances, in abundance,” wrote Danforth in the post. “This feels like a particularly insidious form of homophobia, one that’s not nearly as covert as you must think it to be.”

The controversy prompted the NCAC to sponsor the essay contest among Cape Henlopen students. The first place winner, Hannah Lowe, won $250 for her essay while second place winner Katie Redefer won $150 and third place winner, Rachael Wagner, won $100.

“We were overwhelmed and inspired by the submissions we received,” said NCAC Executive Director Joan Bertin. “The essays showed that teenagers can be mature and thoughtful in their approach to books that some adults consider controversial and inappropriate.”

The contest was done in correlation with National Banned Books Week, which is held annually in September, to highlight books that have been banned from classrooms, libraries and reading lists.

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