Barnes & Noble pushed to curb sales of the most banned book of 2021

A Virginia lawmaker is prosecuting Barnes & Noble for blocking the book chain from selling two “obscene” books to minors without parental consent. The move comes as conservative lawmakers across the country are trying to ban schools and libraries from offering books with content they find objectionable.

Tim Anderson, a Republican attorney who serves in the Virginia House of Delegates, said he filed a lawsuit on behalf of his client, Tommy Altman, who is running for Congress. Altman, who describes himself as a disabled veteran, states in a campaign video on his website that he runs to protect freedom, including the right to free expression.

In a May 18 Facebook post, Anderson said he was “seeking a restraining order against Barnes and Noble and Virginia Beach Schools to prohibit them from selling or lending these books to minors without parental consent.” The books in question are “Gender Queer”, a memoir by Maia Kobabe; and “A Court of Mist and Fury,” a fantasy novel by Sarah J. Maas.

“Gender Queer” was called the No. 1 challenged and censored book of 2021 by the Office for Intellectual Freedom of the American Library Association.

The lawsuit against Barnes & Noble comes amid pressure from conservatives limited discussions and content about matters that some find objectionable, e.g. Florida’s “Do Not Say Gay” Law, which restricts teachers and school districts from discussing issues such as gender identity in the preschool class to the third grade. But most of those efforts have focused on public schools and libraries, rather than a private company.

In a statement to CBS MoneyWatch, Barnes & Noble said it “carries thousands of books, some of which may be offensive.”

“We demand that our customers respect our responsibility to provide this breadth of reading material, and also respect that, although they have chosen not to buy many of these themselves, they may be of interest to others,” it added. company.

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“Gender Queer” became the most challenging book of 2021 because of its “LGBTQIA + content, and because it was considered sexually explicit images,” the American Library Association said. In an interview with the New York Times in May, Kobabe said banning her book sends a negative signal to teens who are struggling with their sexuality.

“If you take these books off the shelf or challenge them publicly in a community, what you’re saying to any young person who identifies with that story is, ‘We do not want your story here,'” he said. Kobabe against the newspaper. .

Maas’ book is a fantasy that is described in its marketing copy as a “sexy, action-packed” novel. The book’s sex scenes challenged Virginia’s Conservatives.

“There’s probably reason to believe that the book ‘A Court of Mist and Fury’ is obscene to unrestricted viewing by minors,” according to the request for a restriction on Anderson’s Facebook page.

The representative of Kobabe and Maas did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Anderson signaled that he would not stop judging “Gender Queer” and “A Court of Mist and Fury.”

“We’re in a big fight. Suits like this can be submitted throughout Virginia. There are dozens of books. Hundreds of schools,” he wrote.

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