Sometimes books are challenged in libraries. There might be a word, phrase, character or situation that people object to. But one parent really took objections to the next level when he paged through a book by Dan Gutman. Mr. Gutman wrote about this surprising correspondence in an article for School Library Journal. (Note: Link updated.)
His experience made me think about I came really close to self-censoring myself in SAVING THE GRIFFIN. I wrote about that experience in the comments section of Gutman’s article. In the end, I decided that the use of two questionable words–dumb and stupid–was right for that scene. They had to be in there. No, this isn’t anything close to the decision that Susan Patron had to make in THE HIGHER POWER OF LUCKY, but I had read an article about how the use of those words could keep my book out of some classrooms and collections.
Now I have decided to take out some other words from rough drafts when I didn’t think that they were age-appropriate. In those cases, though, the words weren’t important to the story.