Tim Federle, author of the children’s book Better Nate Than Ever, recently wrote a column at the Huffington Post describing the reactions his book, which features a young gay male character, has received. The book, which was released earlier this year, features “a subplot about a teenager who’s starting to notice other boys and beginning to wonder why,” according to Federle. The main plot of the story concerns a boy’s audition for a Broadway show.
Federle’s column was written in honor of Banned Books Week, the annual week in which the American Library Association honors those that resist literary censorship. Although the list of banned books has changed over time — and widely varies from region to region — some of the most popular, previously banned books include Mark Twain’s Adventures of Huckleberry Finn and J.D. Salinger’s The Catcher In The Rye. These books are now considered classics of American literature. Even the Harry Potter series initially came under fire from those that saw its descriptions of witchcraft and wizardry as a threat to religious institution.
Federle notes that many have been supportive of his book, and that it has received praise from parents, children and critics alike. He also notes, however, that many have yet to accept that a sexually ambiguous character be present in young adult literature. The author references a recent blog post in which a parent disapproved the book on the basis that “homosexuality is presented as normal and natural.”
The author’s response to that accusation was simple: “You bet it is.”