Challenged Works

Snow Falling on Cedars

By David Guterson


2006—After receiving an anonymous letter of complaint, the Dufferin-Peel (ON) Catholic District School Board removed this novel about a murder trial from its highschool library shelves and the syllabus of a Grade 11 English course. In 1995, this bestselling book won the PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction.

Objection—Sexual content.

Update—In 2007, the school board created a committee to review the book. The committee consisted of school trustees, parents, teachers representing elementary and secondary library associations, a religious education consultant, a supervisor of library services and the superintendent of the program. The committee decided to return the novel to school libraries and keep the novel in the Grade 11 English course. The committee also decided to send letters that explain the novel’s value and note the novel’s “sensitive content” to parents of students enrolled in the course. In addition, the committee recommended a comprehensive review of the process for selecting novels for use in schools.

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