A West Virginia library board will decide today whether to permanently ban a children’s book about a prince who falls in love with a knight.
The title in question is Prince & Knight, published by Little Bee Books in partnership with GLAAD. Written by Daniel Haack and illustrated by Stevie Lewis, it was already removed from shelves after local pastor Josh Layfield requested that the library censor books with LGBTQ+ characters.
The Upshur County Public Library Board will meet Wednesday afternoon to decide whether the book should be permanently removed. Verbal public comments are not allowed at the meeting, but individuals can submit comments to email@example.com.
In a rambling post to Facebook, Layfield claimed that Prince & Knight “is a deliberate attempt to indoctrinate young children, especially boys, into the LGBTQA lifestyle.” He wrote last week, “This book is deliberately appealing to their imagination, creativity, and their innocence when they still think girls have ‘cooties.’”
Complaints were also made online by local blogger Caiden Cowder, who claimed the book is “promoting homosexuality to children.” He also complained that the library has other LGBTQ+ inclusive titles, such as In Our Mothers’ House and Julian is a Mermaid.
Cowger’s previous claim to fame was having his podcast removed from various directories after claiming that President Obama made children gay. He also hosted a “National Chick-Fil-A Heterosexual Day” in 2012.
Prince & Knight is written for four to eight-year-olds and is about a prince who is in line to take the throne. While his parents are searching for a worthy bride for him, a dragon threatens the kingdom, and when the prince rushes home, he is met by a brave knight. Together they defeat the dragon and fall in love.
Sarah Kate Ellis, president and CEO of GLAAD, issued a statement in response to the censorship efforts. “The decision to remove Prince & Knight from the shelves of the Upshur County Public Library is an act of discrimination, plain and simple,” Ellis wrote. “Inclusive children’s books do not ‘indoctrinate’ but do allow [LGBTQ+] families and their children the chance to see themselves reflected in the world.”
Local LGBTQ+ organizers are doing their best to stand against the censorship.
“[LGBTQ+] folks are part of this great town and state,” said Dannie Stiles, President of Buckhannon Pride, in a statement. “Parents of all walks of life and backgrounds use our local libraries various resources to teach community based values to their families. Things such as being kind to your neighbor, even if they do not look or love like you.
“This series of books also offers an opportunity for loving and kind parents to teach their children community mindedness and a respect for the LGBTQ+ population,” Stiles added.