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Anti-Censorship Coalition Pushes Back Against Challenge of Manga Novel in Jerome Middle School Library

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The New York-based National Coalition Against Censorship is calling on an Idaho school to keep a Japanese manga novel on its library shelves after an English teacher at Jerome Middle School issued a formal complaint against Sword Art Online: Aincrad. According to the complaint, the teacher said a student expressed concern about content in the book—specifically, "inappropriate language" and "inappropriate drawings."

Sword Art Online: Aincrad, by author Reki Kawahara, is a futuristic novel depicting gamers who get trapped in a virtual world. To date, the Sword Art Online series includes two dozen volumes and more than 20 million copies have been sold worldwide. Meanwhile, animated adaptations have aired on the Cartoon Network and Netflix.

NCAC has joined the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund, National Council of Teachers of English, American Booksellers for Free Expression, Association for American Publishers, the Authors Guild and PEN America to argue that removing the book would "set a harmful precedent that, for example, could see a classic work of literature that contains adult language, or an art history textbook that includes a nude, be kept away from teens."

The coalition even points to the Jerome Middle School policy handbook, in which policy No. 2510 states that the objective of the district's libraries is "to provide a wide range of materials on all appropriate levels of difficulty, with diversity of appeal."

Read the full letter of appeal from the coalition here:

See related PDF JeromeLetterNCAC__1_.pdf

The debate is expected to surface at an upcoming meeting of a Jerome School District review committee.

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