'Fault in Our Stars' Author Zings School District for Banning Book

John Green Portrait - H 2014
Christopher Patey

John Green Portrait - H 2014

The move comes during Banned Books Week, designed to highlight this kind of censorship

John Green took to his Tumblr to express his sadness over the decision by the Riverside, Calif., school system to ban his bestselling YA novel The Fault in Our Stars from a middle school library because it deals with mortality and sex.

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Green wrote the following on Tumblr in response to a fan’s question about the banning:

“I guess I am both happy and sad.

"I am happy because apparently young people in Riverside, California will never witness or experience mortality since they won’t be reading my book, which is great for them.

"But I am also sad because I was really hoping I would be able to introduce the idea that human beings die to the children of Riverside, California and thereby crush their dreams of immortality.”

On Monday, the Riverside Unified School District’s book reconsideration committee voted 6-1 to remove the three copies of the book from the library at the city’s Frank Augustus Miller Middle School. Karen Krueger, the parent who made the original complaint, told the Riverside Press-Enterprise that she didn’t want to “come off as a prude” but she was “shocked” the book was available to kids ages 11-13.

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It is only the second book Riverside has removed from the middle school among the 37 complaints it has received since 1988.  The other book banned was Robert Cormier's The Chocolate War, which was removed from the library in 1996.

Ironically, the news comes during Banned Books Week, when librarians and booksellers draw attention to this very situation.

Green is no stranger to challenges. Fault has been challenged in other schools and Green’s first novel, Looking for Alaska, was No. 7 on the American Library Association’s list of the 10 most challenged books.