One of the books to which Maziarka has objected is Heather Has Two Mommies, written by multi-award winner Leslea Newman, and published by Alyson Publications in Los Angeles. It is listed in West Bend library documents among "Books presented by Jim [&] Ginny Maziarka for reconsideration on 2/12/09." This review is based on the 10th Anniversary edition, which is the version at the West Bend library.
Heather Has Two Mommies is a short, illustrated children's story about a little girl who goes to pre-school for the first time. There she learns that not all families are like hers. She realizes that she has two mommies, while some other kids have a mommy and a daddy, some have two daddies, some have only one parent, some have parents who are divorced, and some of the kids are adopted.
There are absolutely no illustrations or textual descriptions of a sexual nature. There is no nudity, no sexual situations. Heather's two mommies are not shown in bed, in any state of undress, or engaging in any intimate activity. One illustration shows the little girl getting a hug from one of her mothers, and another shows her getting a hug from her pre-school teacher. The two mothers, on the other hand, are neither shown nor described as hugging, kissing, or even holding hands.
Labeling this book "obscene" goes beyond any stretch of values. Anyone terming this book "obscene" needs a therapist, now.
In spite of the complete absence of even a hint of anything sexual, the author writes in the book's afterword, "as the author of Heather Has Two Mommies, I have been called the most dangerous writer living in America today." This has been one of the most frequently challenged books, and at one point copies were being stolen from public libraries in an effort to suppress it. The book's true crime is found in the words of the pre-school teacher: "It doesn't matter how many mommies or how many daddies your family has. . . . The most important thing about a family is that all the people in it love each other."
Amazon.com and Books-A-Million list the reading level as "Ages 4-8," while Barnes and Noble and Borders give no age range. Online searches show at least 42 public, college, and university libraries in Wisconsin have a copy, many classifying the book as Juvenile fiction.
2nd OPEN CHALLENGE TO GINNY MAZIARKA: Post a comment to this blog that explains your objection to Heather Has Two Mommies. Tell us clearly what it is about this book you find objectionable, and state in practical detail what you think the library should do with this book. If you feel your explanation needs more space than a blog comment allows, post a full article on your own WISSUP blog and leave a link in a comment here. In fact, if you produce an updated list of the books you object to, or a list of practical standards for defining which books are objectionable, I will gladly publish them here on my blog. (Of course, you should expect your response to be scrutinized and debated).
Maziarka has so far declined to respond to my first open challenge, regarding Hear Me Out!