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Book mistakenly added to ‘explicit’ list because of author’s last name

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (AP) — An Alabama public library mistakenly added a children’s picture book to a list of potentially inappropriate titles because the author’s last name is “Gay,” the library’s director said.

“Read Me a Story, Stella,” a children’s picture book by Canadian author Marie-Louise Gay, was added to a list of books flagged for potential removal from the children’s section of the Huntsville-Madison County Public Library because of “sexually explicit” content.

But the book, which is about a pair of siblings reading together and building a dog house, should not have been on the list and was only added because of the keyword “gay,” Cindy Hewitt, the library’s executive director told on Sunday.

The book was one of 233 books set to be reviewed and potentially moved.

“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,” Hewitt said.

That process was halted following public backlash, the news outlet reported.

Kirsten Brassard, Gay’s publicist at Groundwood Books, said the episode sends a “hateful message” coming from a public library,

“This proves, as always, that censorship is never about limiting access to this book or that one. It is about sending the message to children that certain ideas — or even certain people — are not worthy of discussion or acknowledgment or consideration,” Brassard told the news outlet.

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