And finally… what’s in a name?

An illustrated children’s book was inadvertently shortlisted for censorship amid a US book-banning frenzy simply because the author’s last name is Gay.

Read Me a Story, Stella by Mary-Louise Gay was included on a list of potentially “sexually explicit” books to be removed from an Alabama public library despite having no sexual content, reports.

The book, the seventh instalment in a series which has sold millions of copies worldwide, sees titular character Stella introduce her younger brother Sam to reading and help him build a doghouse.

Huntsville-Madison County Public Library (HCPL) accepted that Gay’s book was wrongly included on the list of 233 children’s books flagged for internal review.

The review was launched following lobbying from Clean Up Alabama, a group which argues that librarians who make books with LGBT+ content available to children should be imprisoned, but has now been halted.

HCPL executive director Cindy Hewitt said: “We wanted to be proactive and allow our library staff to look at our collection and make decisions about moving material to an older age group and not have someone from outside dictating that for us.”

Incidentally, Read Me a Story, Stella does not appear on a separate list of 102 supposedly objectionable books compiled by Clean Up Alabama.

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