Challenged Book: Dreaming in Cuban
Artist: Cristina Garcia
Date of Action: August 2021
Region: North America
Location: Sierra Vista, Arizona
Confronting Bodies: Sierra Vista in Arizona, Dreaming in Cuban
Description of Artwork: Dreaming in Cuban is the first novel written by Cristina García. This novel moves between Cuba and the United States featuring three generations of a single family. The novel’s central themes include family relationships, exile, the divisiveness of politics, and memory. Cuban history and culture are important in the novel, including important historical events and the elements of Santería that appear throughout the novel. It was published by Alfred A. Knopf in 1992.
The Incident: Parents of 10th grade students in an Arizona school did not approve of the novel Dreaming in Cuban, as they complained about the sexually graphic material. One parent in particular even took her son our of his English class after students were asked to read sexually-explicit passages aloud. A former Sierra Vista elementary school teacher told the school board that the book resembled "child pornography."
Results of Incident: Author Cristina Garcia was surprised as she said the novel has never generated this sort of controversy before. She told The Associated Press on Thursday that students shouldn't be deprived of a broader, cultural experience. Nevertheless, the book has been removed from the curriculum.
Superintendent Kriss Hagerl says had the district been aware of the book's content, they would have had teachers provide an alternative option, and now she plans on going through a more in depth process of learning a book's content before selecting it for the school's curriculum.