Northwest book challenge revoked

BVNW patron withdrew previous challenge on library book “Living Dead Girl” by Elizabeth Scott.


Lila Vancrum

Written by Elizabeth Scott, “Living Dead Girl” deals with troubling and possibly triggering topics.

Lucy Halverson, Editor-in-Chief

In the school’s library’s collection of 5,050 diverse books, one book was recently challenged, according to BVNW Librarian Craig Odle. The book, “Living Dead Girl” by Elizabeth Scott, was brought to the attention of the district by a concerned patron, whose name the district did not disclose. 

The novel is narrated by Alice, a girl who was kidnapped at age 10 by a violent sexual predator and murderer. She is held captive for five years, during which Alice endures physical, sexual and psychological abuse. In spite of the book’s distressing storyline, Odle said he found powerful themes within its pages. 

“The book takes on a really, somewhat difficult situation that is uncomfortable,” Odle said.  “It mirrors reality, and it has this perspective, from the person who was going through this most difficult thing.”

The multi-time award-winning novel was challenged by the patron a few weeks ago, instigating an informal meeting between the principal, librarians, a district representative and the challenger. Odle explained the purpose of the meeting is to familiarize the patron with the challenge process and hear their initial concerns. 

“We listen to the person’s issues, we don’t necessarily respond. The Director of Libraries will talk about our selection policy, which is determined by the board,” Odle said. “At that point, the principal offers the forms that need to be filled out for a formal reconsideration hearing. If the person challenging wants to do that, and fills that out, then the committee is formed.” 

Upon this meeting’s conclusion, the process was planned to continue, as Odle said the librarians are comfortable with the book. However, the patron soon reached out to the Superintendent and the board, withdrawing their initial challenge, according to Blue Valley Director of Curriculum, Instruction and Innovation Kelly Ott. As of now, there is no active challenge regarding the novel. 

“I do feel like community members, families, absolutely have the right to be engaged in our school district and ask questions and bring forth things,” Ott said. “I think it’s part of this being civically engaged.”