West Virginia Public Library Pulls and Attempts to Ban LGBTQ Children’s Book

November 19, 2019

The Upshur County Public Library Board is scheduled to hold a formal review on Wednesday, November 20, to decide whether or not the children’s book, Prince & Knight, should remain banned from the library due to its LGBTQ content.

Prince & Knight, published by Little Bee Books in partnership with GLAAD, chronicles the tale of a prince who falls in love with a brave knight. The story is written by Daniel Haack and illustrated by Stevie Lewis. School Library Journal called it an “illuminating fairy tale for young readers.” The book is currently available on Amazon and at other national retailers.

The book was removed from the shelves of the Upshur County Public Library at the wishes of a local pastor, according to the Mountaineer Journal, a local area blog. On November 15, the pastor released an anti-LGBTQ statement on social media claiming the book “is a deliberate attempt to indoctrinate young children, especially boys, into the LGBTQA lifestyle.”

GLAAD President and CEO Sarah Kate Ellis responded today:

“The decision to remove Prince & Knight from the shelves of the Upshur County Public Library is an act of discrimination, plain and simple. Inclusive children’s books do not ‘indoctrinate’ but do allow LGBTQ families and their children the chance to see themselves reflected in the world.”

The review by the Upshur County Public Library Board will be conducted on the afternoon of Wednesday, November 20, 2019, according to the Mountaineer Journal. Verbal public comments will not be allowed, however, the public may submit their comments in writing prior to the meeting. If you would like to make a public comment, you can do so by emailing upshur.info@clark.lib.wv.us.

Dannie Stiles, President of Buckhannon Pride, a volunteer LGBTQ organization in central West Virginia, spoke with GLAAD and offered the following quote:

"We at Buckhannon Pride try to set an example of diversity within rural West Virginia. It has been a tough year for our LGBT community within our state, from one of our state delegates using derogatory language in the peoples house, to a Drag Queen Story Time in Morgantown having to cancel due to threats on the Queens lives, our towns non-discrimination ordinance failed to pass and now a book being censored. LGBTQ folks are part of this great town and state. 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. Upshur County Residents and West Virginians are a hard-working, community minded people. many do not share the belief that censoring or removing of reading material of public libraries is in the best interest of the public. Books like "Prince and Knight present a unique perspective for teaching these qualities of respecting those who think, look or act differently than the reader. 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"

Daniel Haack, the author of Prince & Knight, also provided a statement to GLAAD:

“It's been so heartening to hear from all the local parents and community members who are standing up in support of the book and its celebration of love and acceptance. In many ways, it's just like the brave prince and knight facing the dragon to protect the vulnerable citizens of their kingdom, and whatever happens, the children of Buckhannon will know they still have plenty of kind, loving and inclusive neighbors.

Prince & Knight is meant to be a fun little adventure story that also just happens to better reflect the reality of millions of families not seen in other children's stories. If the protesters are worried that reading this book will turn someone gay, I can easily refer them to all the gay adults who grew up only reading about straight romances.”

Prince & Knight tells the tale of a noble prince who is in line to take the throne. Together with his parents, they search the land far and wide to find a worthy bride, but the prince doesn’t find what he is looking for in the princesses they meet. While away, a terrible dragon threatens their land, so the prince rushes back to save his kingdom where he is met by a brave knight. Together they defeat the dragon, and find love in the process. More info on the book available here.