Bookshelf: Banned Books Week
BY Diane Anderson-Minshall
September 29 2011 6:00 PM ET
Rainbow Boys (Simon & Schuster, 2003) $9
When Alex Sanchez’s Rainbow Boys hit the list of 55 books Parents Protecting the Minds of Children wanted banned it was little surprise. The novel is a frank look at three gay teenagers — Nelson, Kyle, and Jason — celebrating their senior year while struggling with such things as coming out, unrequited love, and HIV. While the book is pure fiction, Sanchez has made it a heartwarming and accessible books that could speak to teens in the heartland, with support groups and organizations that are real (PFLAG) and real contacts listed in the back of the book. Citizens (including some without kids) challenged the book at Owen-Withee Junior and Senior High School in Wisconsin because of what they called pervasively vulgar gay content. According to the American Booksellers Foundation for Free Expression, the school board reviewed the book and left it in the schools, but the superintendent recommended that parental permission be required for seventh- through ninth-grade students who want to check out the book.