Book bans are an ugly subject, what with the infringements on freedom of speech, but when your illustrated children’s book about the apocalyptic consequences of climate change is banned, you have to ask yourself, do the oil companies own everything? I don’t know about you, but this really pissed me off.
Australia, recently in the news for its wildfires and coal mining, are once again cancelling our voices concerning the climate emergency. A book like An Angry Earth is a tell it like it is, in your face telling of how the world will end and why. Climate change is the foundation upon which the book is built, told through a young boy who experiences one natural disaster after another as they unfold around him.
So, why ban An Angry Earth? I’m guessing it’s the content, as laid out in the Australian Classification Board Regulations: A publication only has to be classified if it satisfies the definition of ‘submittable publication’ contained in section 5 of the Act. A ‘submittable publication’ may contain depictions or descriptions that: a) are likely to cause the publication to be classified RC (Refused Classification) (this means prohibited); or b) are likely to cause offence to a reasonable adult to the extent that the publication should not be sold or displayed as an ‘unrestricted publication’ (this is a classification category referenced below); or c) are unsuitable for a minor (a person aged under 18 years) to see or read.
So, Kobo was approached by the ACB regarding my title, An Angry Earth, receiving notice that the content of the book violates the Australian Classification Board standards and has been removed from sale in Australia. Therefore, it’s the content that seems to terrify them. Is it scary? Of course it’s scary. It’s the end of the world! But shouldn’t kids be frightened over the world we’re leaving them? Shouldn’t that fear mobilize them, like the #FridaysForFuture campaign and School walkouts led by Greta Thunburg? Shouldn’t kids see a book like An Angry Earth and start asking real questions of their parents, and holding them accountable for their purchases and lifestyle choices?
I’m unapologetic over the way my book portrays the future of our world, but do allow for some thoughtful, and encouraging words in the epilogue. I don’t want children to lose out on being kids, but I do want them to appreciate that this is their world to inherit, and to ensure that the adult stewards of their planet do everything in their power to leave it better than they found it.
When parents love their children more than they love their things, the world will breathe a great sigh of relief.