A three-judge panel heard arguments earlier this month over the Miami-Dade County school board’s decision to remove a children’s book about Cuba from elementary school libraries. Board members said the book painted too rosy a picture of life in Cuba.
“The books are rife with factual omissions, misrepresentations and inaccuracies that render them educationally unsuitable,” Richard Ovelmen, a lawyer for the board, told the judges in the Federal Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit. “The basic fact that there is a dictatorship, that there is a regime of 48 years is not mentioned.”
But a lawyer for the American Civil Liberties Union, JoNel Newman, argued, “The school board can’t pull a book because of a political viewpoint.”
The board initially took the 32-page book, “Vamos a Cuba,” and its English version, “A Visit to Cuba,” off school library shelves in June 2006 after a parent objected to its contents.
The book, written by Alta Schreier and published in 2001, is part of a 24-book series for children in kindergarten through second grade that discusses travel around the world and different cultures. Its cover shows smiling schoolchildren dressed in the uniform of the Pioneers, the Communist youth group to which every Cuban student must belong.
This from the New York Times.