House of the Spirits
Artist: Isabel Allende
Date of Action: August 2021
Region: North America
Location: Boone, North Carolina
Medium: Public Art
Confronting Bodies: Watauga High School, NC
Description of Artwork: The House of the Spirits by Isabel Allende is an award winning young adult novel that tells the story of three generations of the Trueba family, and it falls within the genre of magical realism. Originally published in Spanish as La Casa de los Espiritus, the novel is Allende's debut, and it has been translated into over twenty languages.
The Incident: A parent in the North Carolina school, Watauga High School, complained that the amount of graphic descriptions of violence in the novel has diluted the messages of the book's challenging themes and ideas, and she has pleaded before the board to consider having it removed from the district entirely.
Results of Incident: In response to the challenge of her novel, Isabel Allende emailed a fervent letter to the school board members as well as the district superintendent and the principal of Watauga High School. She recieved much support from the rest of the nation, as many reading freedom advocates and the general public throughout the U.S. opposed the parent's appeal for removal.
Allende also mailed them physical copies of the letter, and now the district committee, which is members of the school board whose specific task is to review a challenged work, will gather on November 27th, 2013 to discuss the book and the parent's challenge.
After a lengthy appeal process, on March 3, 2014, a 3-2 vote, the book has retained circulation in the library system.