(Warning: Explicit Content)

These days, “book bans” are constantly in the news. This term suggests widespread censorship and empty bookshelves in classrooms nationwide. Organizations such as the American Library Association (ALA) and the teachers unions advertise “book bans” as a conservative ploy to get rid of any books that they don’t like. This is simply not the case. The ALA’s most challenged or “banned” books are still widely available, even the sexually explicit and age-inappropriate books that concern parents and community members.

Aymann Ismail, a 32-year-old father of two, fell into this narrative. He thought the attention on “book bans” was founded in hysteria. And then he read “It’s Perfectly Normal,” one of the “banned” books. 

The book’s author published it knowing that parents would not want their children to view its color illustrations of sex and naked people. The publisher markets this “sexual health guide” to children ages 10 and up; this means students can read this book starting in 5th grade.

After Ismail flipped through the book, he felt “a little shocked.” He observed: “I had an involuntary reaction to seeing the nude cartoons, like I needed to make sure I was alone and hide the book . . . On virtually every page I stopped to examine, I was confronted with detailed drawings of genitals. It felt like every page had a cartoon of a naked body.” On page 9, Ismail found three illustrations of adults having sex. 

In North Carolina, Rev. John Amanchukwu attempted to read passages from this book at a school board meeting. The school board cut him off and prohibited further reading due to the book’s explicit content. Amanchukwu pointedly criticized the board members: “If you don’t want to hear it in a school board meeting, why should children be able to check it out of the school system?” 

(Warning: Explicit Content)

Here is one of the images that shocked Aymann Ismail. 

One Wisconsin father recited passages in front of the Holmen school board, including descriptions of sex that conclude, “This kind of touching can make the whole body feel good–feel sexy.” One page of the book shows an adolescent boy and girl masturbating alongside how-to instructions. Another page proclaims, “Sometimes as kids are growing up, they become curious about other kids who are the same gender as they are or who are a different gender. They may even look at and even touch each other’s bodies. This is a normal kind of exploring and does not necessarily have anything to do with whether someone is or will be straight, gay, lesbian, or bisexual.”

“It’s Perfectly Normal” was originally published in 1994, but an updated edition includes “gender-neutral” vocabulary, expanded LGBTQ and gender identity topics, updated illustrations featuring contraception, and a revised section on abortion.

It’s not “perfectly normal” to encourage sexual behavior in young children and depict sexual acts in cartoon form. It’s not “perfectly normal” to push gender ideology onto young children, taking advantage of their impressionable minds and replacing biology with identity confusion. 

Parents have the right and obligation to discuss sensitive topics with their children, but these topics and images are not appropriate for very young children, especially in a school setting. If parents want to approach these topics, they should be able to do so at their own pace and under their supervision. Teachers unions and the ALA promote these books under the guise of “diversity” and “sexual education.” In reality, these books promote damaging ideology to young children and disregard adults’ responsibility to protect children’s innocence.

Independent Women’s Forum will be exposing inappropriate and ideologically indoctrinating books found in K-12 schools through the “Book Bans” Debunked blog series. If you want to see the books in your children’s school library, search here. This is the first piece in the series.