A children’s book celebrating infants just joined the list of banned books in at least one county in Florida.
“Everywhere Babies,” a picture book with rhyming text that features babies sleeping, crawling and more, was created by Susan Meyers who was inspired by the birth of her first grandchild to write the book, according to the Washington Post. It was a common recommendation by new parents and featured on Best Books lists.
But for Walton County school districts, they wanted the book to be removed from public school libraries.
Walton County School Superintendent Russell Hughes told WJHG-TV that it was “necessary at this moment” for him to make the decision and he did it for the “welfare” of all involved, including constituents, teachers, and students.
A spokesperson for the Florida Department of Education referred questions by the Post to Walton County, noting that “individual school districts are responsible for making these decisions,” and did not respond to follow-up questions.
Meyers and Marla Frazee, who did the illustrations, spoke to the Post about the experience of seeing it banned from public school libraries for the first time.
“I’ve been following all this book-banning stuff and wondering what is wrong with these people,” Meyers said. “And they’re only bringing more attention to these books — there are plenty of people who will then seek them out and want to read them. So I wasn’t really upset. There are various LGBTQ children’s book sites that have included our book in their lists, so I suspect that might be how [the school officials in Florida] found it.”
Frazee said it was “abhorrent” but not surprising to see the book banned. Some illustrations might have depicted same-sex couples, but were not specifically identified in the text, the Post reported.
“If you were a child being raised by two moms, you might look at that image of two women together in one way,” Frazee said. “Two men on the street — that could be seen in a variety of ways by a variety of cultures. I’m not that concerned with what adults think about the pictures in the books, I’m concerned about what the children think. I want them to follow the story and understand what the picture is saying. Regardless of what the book is, or what kind of picture story is being told, I often sort of feel like adults miss the mark in a big way. I don’t think adults read pictures all that expertly, but I think kids do. I trust a child’s perception way more.”