Looking for Alaska

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Lesson Planned

Looking for alaska.jpeg

Artist: John Green

Year: 2005

Date of Action: August 2021

Region: North America

Location: Sumner County, TN

Subject: Explicit Sexuality


Confronting Bodies: County Director of Education

Description of Artwork: "Looking for Alaska" follows a boy as he transfers to a boarding school and befriends a new group of kids, central among which is a girl named Alaska, with whom he falls in love. The book is divided into two parts "Before" and "After," with a cataclysmic event dividing the two and affecting the lives of all the characters. Controversy generally surrounds a two-page oral sex scene as well as profanity in the book and underage drinking.

The Incident: Book was one of four proposed end-of-term reading choices in a junior year high school English course. Students voted on the book and were set to read it when a parent complained about sexual content and profanity in the book. Before it could be discussed by the principal and rather than accept an alternate assignment, the issue was taken above the head of the school to the school board and County Instructional Administration. It was promptly removed and banned throughout the county.

Results of Incident: Book banned in the county without official challenge, review or vote.

Source: [http://ncac.org/incident/looking-for-alaska-pulled-from-sumner-county-classrooms “Looking for Alaska” Pulled from Sumner County Classrooms "[http" has not been listed as valid URI scheme., BY NCAC STAFF, MAY 15, 2012]

[http://www.nydailynews.com/blogs/pageviews/tennessee-county-bans-ya-alaska-oral-sex-scene-not-steinbeck-school-officials-blog-entry-1.1638256 Tennessee county bans YA novel "Looking for Alaska" because of oral sex scene: This is not Steinbeck "2012]</br></br>[http" has not been listed as valid URI scheme., school officials say, BY ALEXANDER NAZARYAN PAGE VIEWS Updated: Thursday "BY ALEXANDER NAZARYAN PAGE VIEWS Updated" has not been listed as valid URI scheme., May 10, 2012]

[http://www.marshall.edu/library/bannedbooks/books/lookingforalaska.asp History of banning]

[http://www.nj.com/burlington/index.ssf/2015/10/nj district bans john greens looking for alaska re.html N.J. school district bans John Green's 'Looking for Alaska' "2012]</br></br>[http" has not been listed as valid URI scheme., By Michelle Caffrey, October 15, 2015]

[https://www.theguardian.com/childrens-books-site/2016/apr/26/john-green-looking-for-alaska-banned-censorship John Green fights back against banning of Looking for Alaska "2015]</br></br>[https" has not been listed as valid URI scheme., Amy Coles, Tuesday 26 April 2016]

[https://www.theguardian.com/books/2016/apr/28/battle-keep-looking-for-alaska-kentucky-school-curriculum-john-green-ya US battle over banning Looking for Alaska continues in Kentucky: Free-speech groups have added their voices to support the teaching of John Green’s YA novel "Tuesday 26 April 2016]</br></br>[https" has not been listed as valid URI scheme., in the face of one parent’s complaint about its ‘filth’, Alison Flood, Thursday 28 April 2016 10.52 EDT]

Similar objections led to the book being removed in Depew, NY, despite a permission slip already being required. That removal was subsequently reversed.