Eleanor & Park
Artist: Rainbow Rowell
Date of Action: August 2021
Region: North America
Location: McArthur, Ohio
Confronting Bodies: Vinton County High School, McArthur, Ohio
Description of Artwork: Eleanor & Park is award-winning young adult novel by Rainbow Rowell that is featured widely in English curricula and is critically praised for its acute exploration of themes such as love, race, bullying, body image, and abuse. It has occupied The New York Times bestseller list. While written about and for teens, the themes are universal. A frequently challenged book, it has been listed as no.10 on the American Library Association’s ‘Top Ten Challenged Books list.’
The Incident: Eleanor & Park was removed from a tenth-grade English curriculum following complaints. A parent of a student at Vinton County High School posted an out-of-context image of a passage from the book containing “foul language” on social media and issued a formal complaint about the book to the school. The school administration responded by cancelling English lessons that used the book, replacing it with a different novel.
Results of Incident: In a May 8, 2017 letter to the school administration, The National Coalition Against Censorship and 6 other organizations committed to defending kids’ right to read urged Vinton County High School to restore student access to Eleanor & Park. The letter was signed by the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund, National Council of Teachers of English, American Booksellers for Free Expression, Association of American Publishers, Authors Guild and PEN America. The case in ongoing.
NCAC Demands Ohio High School Restore Eleanor & Park to English Curriculum, BY NCAC, MAY 9, 2017
CBLDF Joins Defense of Eleanor & Park, May 9, 2017, By Betsy Gomez
Spotlight on Censorship: ‘Eleanor and Park,’ Intellectual Freedom blog, April 11, 2017
“I Don’t Want to be a Safe Writer”: An Interview With Rainbow Rowell, NCAC, OCTOBER 7, 2016
Can you help defend Eleanor & Park from censorship? Rainbow Rowell, September 22, 2016
Oregon School Board Reconsiders Hasty Ban of Eleanor & Park, February 15, 2017, By Maren Williams
Rainbow Rowell’s ‘Eleanor & Park’ Retained in Minnesota High School, By Karyn M. Peterson on November 25, 2013