Scars is being challenged

UPDATE: Boone Library left a comment on my blog–Scars is on their shelves! BUT I just found out–Scars is STILL under review at Boone Library. Writer Debbie Ohi found out for me, and clarified.

Scars is being challenged at Boone County Public Library in KY because of a patron complaint. (The library is obligated to review the book. I am so glad the Boone library bought Scars in the first place–and four copies! Librarians are our advocates–I truly know this! It is individuals who challenge books.) This challenge makes me sad and angry. Trying to prevent any teen or reader from reading a book that might help them, might speak to them, seems so wrong to me.

When I was a teen, being horribly abused, I felt so alone and isolated. Alone in being sexually and ritually abused, alone in being queer, and alone in using self-harm to cope with horrendous abuse. Feeling like you’re the only one of any traumatic, hurtful, or shameful experience is painful. When you add social shaming on top of that, for all of those issues, it can feel unbearable. I desperately needed to know I wasn’t alone, and as an avid reader, I searched for reflections of my own experience in books. I never found it, not the way I needed–but I did find bits of experience that I could identify with, even though they weren’t my own, in books like Judy Blume’s Blubber (I identified with being bullied as a teen, since I was), Lois Duncan’s Down A Dark Hall (I knew what it was like to have the adults around me show one social face, while doing horrible things in secret), Anne of Green Gables (being initially unloved) and many more. Those books are part of what helped me survive my abusive childhood and teenhood. But I still, always, searched for a book that would be more true to my experiences. I never found it–and that is a big part of why I wrote Scars. It was a book I needed for myself.

It turns out that it was a book that many other teens needed, as well. I get a number of reader letters every week, and in so many of them, I hear from teens who have been in emotional pain and felt utterly alone in the world and not understood by anyone until they read Scars. Many of those teens also tell me that after reading Scars, they have managed to stop using self-harm, or reduce self-harm, and many of them have been able, for the first time, to talk to others about their pain, or go into therapy. Those letters are such a gift–knowing that Scars is actively bringing positive change into so many lives. Many of the teens experienced abuse, but some did not. Some were simply queer, or in emotional distress, and didn’t have another outlet.

Since self-harm is usually kept a secret–there is so much societal shame and blame around it–many people who self-harm go years without getting help. I believe that talking about the painful issues is one way to encourage people to find someone to talk to, and to get help.

I’ve also heard from many readers who have never been abused and never experienced self-harm themselves. Some of them have known friends who’ve used self-harm, and after reading Scars, they understand a bit better, have more compassion, and feel more equipped to help their friends. Many other teens have not known anyone who used self-harm, but write to me saying that they have more compassion for people in pain, in general. And a few people have told me that before they read Scars, they could not understand how anyone could ever hurt themselves, but after reading Scars, they got it. I have been hearing, over and over, how much Scars is helping others; it is what I hoped for, and more. To remove Scars from the bookshelves means preventing a lot of teens from finding understanding, safety, and encouragement to find help. It means preventing others from having a bit more compassion for their fellow students. Scars is a book I desperately needed as a teen–and it is clear to me that many, many teens also need it. Keeping it from teens is a reinforcement that no, you’re not okay as you are. That you should feel shame for being abused, being queer, or coping in a way that hurts yourself. For being different. Removing Scars, is, to me, removing some compassion, insight, and understanding from the world.

I hope you’ll join me in raising your voice against censorship. Please consider tweeting, blogging, FaceBooking (is that a word?), or in any way you can, helping to get the word out about this. I hope readers who need Scars will keep finding a way to get it.

If you’d like to ask that Scars NOT be taken off the shelves, here is the contact info:
Phone: 859-342-2665
Twitter: @boonelibrary

If you do contact them, please be polite. Librarians are wonderful!

One blog reader, Kerri Lane, suggested that another way readers could help fight this challenge is to buy a copy of Scars! I love that idea, and would like to suggest that people could buy a copy and read it themselves, give it to a friend or a teen….or get a copy from the library and read it.

Some other posts in support of Scars, and against Scars being challenged:

So many other people have expressed their support. I am heartened by all your many voices. Thank you!

You can enter to win 1 of 3 copies of Scars at The Sunday Book Review (US residents only)

and enter to win another copy of Scars from @JoanneLevy, simply by re-tweeting her tweet or mine: I’ll draw from RTs for free copy: @CherylRainfield SCARS is being challenged in a public library in KY.

81 Responses to “Scars is being challenged”

  1. Ellen Hopkins Says:

    Send copies of some of those letters to the librarian at that school, Cheryl. And do it NOW!

  2. Cheryl Rainfield Says:

    Thank you, Ellen! (hugging you) I forgot to say, I did that. I sent her an email.

  3. Melissa Says:

    Things like this still shock me.

    Not only is the book good, it is needed. Here we have a book that doesn’t teach how to hurt oneself or others, but instead shows individuals who are harming themselves how to stop and get help.

    While I understand schools wanting to keep everything rosy for their students, they also have to realize that doesn’t help their students. Just because we wish everything to be ok with them doesn’t make it so.

    So why not carry a book that will help them deal with emotions they are dealing with. Because let’s be honest, more than one child in that school is getting abused and taking it out on themselves. We may not want to acknowledge it, but it’s a reality we should and must deal with.

  4. Jennifer Fischetto Says:

    Cheryl, I don’t have any advice, but I wanted to say how sorry I am to you and for all those kids who may not get to read your book. I can imagine how sad and disappointing this is.

    I’ve never cut, but I am a binge eater. I understand the pain of not filling in and using something else to numb that pain. I hope you find a way to turn around that librarian’s decision.

    Best of luck and much success.

  5. @geceosan Says:

    I’m thankful you’ve written this book. For every teen who hasn’t been able to write to you (but who have added to it’s very high circulation statistics at my library) I think I can say that they’re thankful, too. Stay strong. We’ll speak loudly.

  6. June Says:

    It is often forgotten that hiding the truth doesn’t change it. Sex abuse happens, self-abuse happens. It’s not a librarian’s job to obscure or hide the facts. I hope this situation drives more attention to the book. I’ve retweeted!

  7. Robin Says:


    This is ridiculous! I hope this increases awareness of your book.

    How do you make teens want to read something: Ban it!

  8. Barbara Caridad Ferrer Says:


    So afraid to face the ugly truths and instead so willing to point the fingers at other places that horrible things happen because of course, nothing like THAT could happen here.

    You keep fighting the good fight, Cheryl. You stand up and shout it from the rooftops and you let us, your fellow writers and readers, take on some of the shouting for you. Because as you said, kids need your book. Hell, adults need your book, if only to see that there’s a way out and that others have survived the same.

  9. Tweets that mention Cheryl Rainfield: » Scars is being challenged -- Says:

    […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Ron Hogan, Cheryl Rainfield, Laura Anne Gilman, AdrienneKress Author, Caridad Ferrer and others. Caridad Ferrer said: Darling big-mouthed Twitter folks, a fellow author has had her book banned in KY. Why? B/C it's about abuse & cutting. […]

  10. Rebecca Benston Says:

    This is terrible. If they refuse to shelve your book, find a way to make it available to those teens who want to read it anyway. Give away copies if you have to! I know that might sound strange coming from a writer who also wants to sell books, but if it is important to you that they read your story and if you believe that what you have to say will help them, make sure they can get it. It doesn’t have to be in the library or for sale in order to be read. Best of luck to you. I’m so sorry that you had to go through what you went through, but God obviously wants to use you here. This is your moment.

  11. Ellen S. Jaffe Says:

    Hi Cheryl —
    I agree with Ellen Hopkins that you send copies of the letters by teen and adult readers to the librarian AND to the school board — and also include a copy of your letter here, which is so moving and honest, and any supportive book reviews, award citations, and letters from teachers and librarians who do use the book. Also, have you thought of doing a Skype call to the librarian? And it is true, as people have said, that banning or challenging a book will attract more readers, and also get people talking about the subject: “We don’t have sexual abuse/cutting/bullying etc. in our community.” “Oh, yes, we do, here’s an example…” “And my daughter just told me about what happened to her…”
    And so it goes.
    Keep up the good work.

  12. Karen Wapinski Says:

    I agree with Rebecca. A book like yours should go out, I spent years in high school burning myself and keeping quiet about having been raped at a party; I was just so ashamed and being something of an outsider I couldn’t open up to anyone to tell it to. My only releif really came from books about similar topics, because I could see myself in the characters. Books like yours help teens by showing them their feelings are okay to have, and that they’re never as alone as they feel, others feel the same way as them.

  13. Kellye Crocker Says:

    Cheryl, I am so sorry that you are experiencing this. Will do all that I can for you, SCARS and readers. Hugs,

  14. Heather M. O'Connor Says:

    I’ve known two girls who cut. In both cases, neither the girls nor their parents knew how to cope. It was a very alien thing and it certainly alienated them from their normal channels of support. How nice Cheryl, that you have written a book that tells cutters and their parents that they are not alone, that there is help, and that they can find a light at the end of a very dark tunnel. Why rob struggling Boone County kids and their folks of this kind of resource? It’s this kind of decision that keeps cutting in the dark and in the closet. Doors open, people!

  15. Theressa Says:

    I think what you did-writing your book-took tremendous guts, and I know there are so many out there in need of empathy and understanding, simply knowing they’re not alone in their own personal hell. This is like people without kids trying to give parenting advice; they’re afraid of what they know nothing about, therefore they attack it. Keep pushing, this book will do much more good than not!

  16. Joey Nichols Says:

    Censorship is alige and well I see. I’m appauled not just as an author but more so as a parent. These are real issues and I don’t want books like this taken from the hands of my children. Fight the good fight Cheryl. Parents, authors, and teens alike will fight with you.

  17. Tara Lazar Says:

    You’re very brave for writing such a personal book, and a hero for helping other teens in similar circumstances. Keep fighting; keep writing.

  18. Tracy Deebs Says:


    I’m so sorry that you have to face this. Nothing drives me crazier than adults censoring what teens read, based on their own personal prejudices and ideas. Definitely keep getting the word out– I’ll do my part!

  19. Cheryl Rainfield Says:

    Oh my gosh–thank you so very much, everyone, for your support! It’s been so wonderful to read!! Here on my blog, and on Twitter, FB–you all are amazing!

  20. Cheryl Rainfield Says:

    Melissa, *thank you*. I think Scars is needed, too. I know I needed it as a teen, and beyond. And SO many teens who write me–they tell me how much they needed Scars…. And yes, oh yes, there are so many teens in pain, needing help… needing to know they’re not alone, there is hope, healing is possible. Thank you so much for your strong words; they felt so good to read!

    Jennifer, thank you for your honesty and bravery. I think there are some similarities between cutting and binge eating–most especially that we are hurting ourselves, and that we are in such deep emotional pain…. I hope so much, too, that Scars doesn’t get pulled from the library!

  21. Cheryl Rainfield Says:

    Missy, thank you!! I’m glad to hear that Scars is circulating so much at your library, and it really does help to hear from people, too! So thank you for writing!

    June, I agree! Hiding the truth doesn’t change or stop it. I think it only makes it worse. Thank you so much for your support!

    Robin–ha! (laughing) I hope that’s true, now. Though teens were going after Scars already. I just keep hoping those who need it will find it.

    Barbara–wow. Thank you! It really makes such a difference to me, you and everyone speaking out, helping to join in about Scars being challenged and silenced. Unlike the abuse, this time I’m not alone, this time people are listening and caring and right in there with me! Thank you!! And yes, it seems absurd to me to ban or challenge a book (at all, but also) when it can help the reader. When it talks about things that people don’t want to talk about….

  22. Shelli Cornelison Says:

    I absolutely hate that this book is being challenged. But I hope it gains so much exposure from this nonsense that it goes into a new printing!

  23. Sheryl McFarlane Says:

    Some good will come of this Cheryl. The book/blog world will get behind you and Scars…More kids will hear about it, especially those who need it. More teachers & librarians who can recommend it to young people will learn of it. The result; your book will find it’s way into the hands that need it. Sadly, issues don’t disappear because we write about them. Challenging books will never die, but neither will the need & desire to be our own choices.Be sure to let the Freedom to Read folks about it too.


  24. The Sunday Book Review » “Scars” is being challenged and I am giving away 3 copies Says:

    […] Scars is being challenged at Boone County Public Library in KY. This makes me sad and angry. Preventing any teen or reader from reading a book that might help them, might speak to them, seems so wrong to me. See complete article here. […]

  25. Jen Bev Says:

    I’ll be happy to review it and use the book for reference of my future columns on learning, positive psychology and compassion. Kindly consider my offer and check out my columns on my web site for a glimpse of what I’ve been doing.

  26. John (Dreaming in Books) Says:


    Okay. Cheryl, you know how I have been worried about harming the signed copy? Screw it. I’m reading this damn thing and as soon as I get back from Disney it’s getting a *&%$@#^ epic review. No matter how much I like it (although I’m pre-disposed to since it deals with LGBTQ and depression).

    This is horrible. Fight it! Email me or any other blogger if you need angry emails sent or various book-related threats to occur. I know people who have gone to cutting and I know people who have had domestic violence and well…god they need books like this sometimes. They need to see that there is hope after it’s all said and done, and that someone else can survive – so they can as well.

    Thank you for being a voice for all of those people, and don’t hesitate to call in the cavalry again if you need it. <3 *goes off to link this like nobody's business*

  27. Wendy Orr Says:

    Maybe it’s therapists the librarian doesn’t trust? Makes as much sense as anything else: because thinking that you can fix suffering by denying it is crazy talk, surely a rational person wouldn’t think that?
    The only silver lining is seeing the support you and Scars are getting – and we can hope that the kids who need the book will hear about the banning and be even more determined to read it, whether or not sense prevails and it returns to the shelves.

  28. Cheryl Rainfield Says:

    Rebecca, thank you. I really do care about people being able to find and read Scars.

    Heather, thank you!! I felt SO alone in my own self-harm (and sexual abuse, and being queer). It helps so much, when there’s shame and societal condemning, to know you’re not alone. And I agree–teens need to know they’re not alone, need to have hope, and a big part of that can come from books. To deny them that is to pull away some hope….

  29. Cheryl Rainfield Says:

    Theressa, thank you for saying that. (smiling) I think you’re right–they’re afraid. And they don’t understand. And the many reader letters I keep getting tell me that Scars is doing good! I hope they can see that….

    Joey, thank you! (beaming) I really appreciate that. I’m so glad to know that there are parents who will give their kids books that might help their kids understand others, possibly even a friend….

    Oh, Tara, thank you! You are a sweetheart! (hugging you)

    Tracy, thank you so much for being willing to speak up about Scars being challenged! I so very much appreciate it! (smiling) And yeah, it bugs me, too–adults trying to remove books that teens actually need. (Actually, anyone banning any book!)

  30. Patricia Beaudin Says:

    Books like these are needed, we need a way to talk about these hard subjects and books are perfect way to do it! Keep fighting and don’t give in!

  31. Bob Mayer Says:

    People afraid of books are afraid of the world. No one is forcing them to read it. Banning books is one of the most destructive acts possible.

  32. Beth Fehlbaum Says:

    Cheryl, I stand with you as a fellow survivor, person who harmed myself through scratching & bulimia, and author of a book that also deals with sexual abuse & self-harm. Fuck the book banners, Cheryl. I am with you and I’m about to saturate Facebook, Twitter, & my website with news of a SCARS + HOPE IN PATIENCE giveaway. …I’m also about to go to to see if HOPE IN PATIENCE is in the Boone County Public Library in KY– if SCARS is banned from there, I imagine HOPE IN PATIENCE soon will be, too.
    Steady On, Cheryl!

  33. Cheryl Rainfield Says:

    Shelli, that’s a lovely wish! Thank you!

    Sheryl, thank you. I feel the book community with me already–here, on Twitter, on FaceBook–the support is wonderful! It helps so much. I do hope even more teens hear about Scars…. And oh, that’s a great idea, the Freedom to Read people! I hadn’t thought of that; thank you! Er–Freedom To Read from ALA? (I contacted ALA separately….) Or Canada?

  34. Laura Ruby Says:

    So sorry to hear about this, Cheryl.
    Do you have any other details? Is the challenge because of a parent complaint? Has the book been removed permanently? Does the library have some sort of review process?

  35. Cheryl Rainfield Says:

    Thank you, Jen, for your offer. That’s lovely. :)

    John–thank you! You made me laugh. (smiling) And I am so glad you’re going to do a review of Scars; thank you! And oh, yes, those of us who’ve been through hard things need books that speak to us and to our experiences, that remind us we’re strong, that give us hope…. I’m very glad you’ll be linking to this post, too. Thank you!!

  36. Kerri Lane/ Kaz Delaney Says:

    Hugs to you on so many counts, Cory. For the horrors you cruelly suffered and also for the double whammy of now having your voice suppressed – or at least the attempt to suppress.

    I have someone in my family who went through a period of self-harming I know how badly young people need to have a voice to express their fears and problems. Books like yours give young people strength to find that voice.

    I think the best action is for everyone to buy your book. I’m in Australia, but if I can’t get it here, I’ll get it through Amazon or somewhere. With your permission, I’ll also blog about this and spread the word with links back to you.

    Good luck and even more hugs. Big warm ones…

  37. Cheryl Rainfield Says:

    Wendy (laughing) wouldn’t it be funny–sort of–if it was because of the positive therapist? (Though I’m thinking, assuming, that the challenge came from a patron.) And YES–I don’t see how anyone can think that by denying suffering they can fix it or make it go away. We know that isn’t true.

    And yes–the support has been amazing and wonderful! So good to see, to hear. I am grateful! I love that idea, that teens will be even more determined to find and read Scars. Thank you for that lovely thought. :)

  38. Vicki Tremper Says:

    I’m a parent and I’ve read Scars. I would let my teen children read Scars. No book should be censored; no book that can somehow help a child should be censored; Scars should absolutely not be censored.

    Good luck in your fight, Cheryl!

  39. Cheryl Rainfield Says:

    Patricia, thank you! I think books can give us such safe windows into worlds we might not know–or worlds we do know, but need some help to look at.

    Bob, I agree–there’s such fear in book banning. And books bring so much goodness!

  40. Kerri Lane/Kaz Delaney Says:

    Cheryl, my most humble apologies! I inadvertently called you ‘Cory’. Please forgive me.

    I was so moved by your story and was obviously not thinking as clearly as a result. I realised my mistake almost instantly and am very embarrassed. Talk about adding insult to injury… Again, hugs and take care

  41. Beth Fehlbaum Says:

    I just sent a comment to the Library Director via this feature on the library’s site:

  42. Becky Johnson Says:

    I added a link to your incredible story to the Banned Books Week Facebook page: – We librarians are behind you, keep up the good fight!

  43. Cheryl Rainfield Says:

    Whoops! Just finding some comments I missed.

    Ellen J, I sent a letter to the librarian (it’s a public library), and some reader letters (without names). I hadn’t thought about including book reviews, awards, etc–that’s a good idea! I hadn’t thought about doing a Skype call–that’s also a fantastic idea! I’m so very glad you think this will get people talking more about the issues! That’s so needed.

  44. Cheryl Rainfield Says:

    Karen, I’m so very sorry for what you went through! But glad you spoke about it here. And so glad that you found books that dealt with painful issues helpful. I did, too! It’s so important to know that we’re not alone….

    Kellye, thank you so much for being in my corner, for speaking out about this! I so very much appreciate it!

  45. Cheryl Rainfield Says:

    Beth, thank you for your strong words, for your support, and for helping to get the word out about the challenge to Scars! I so very much appreciate it! And hey, what a fantastic idea, your giveaway!

  46. Cheryl Rainfield Says:

    Laura, I don’t have any more details. I’m assuming it’s a patron complaint. I don’t know yet if Scars has been removed from their shelves. They had a meeting about it today, and some people who phoned into the library told me that the teen librarian, who would be the one to know the result, was not available for comment and couldn’t be found. So I don’t know yet what is happening….

  47. Beth Fehlbaum Says:

    Thanks, Cheryl! It’s my pleasure to help out any way I can. Hey, everybody, check out how to win a copy of SCARS and a signed copy of my book, HOPE IN PATIENCE! It’s easy to enter, and you’ll be entered multiple times by showing that you Tweeted, posted on FB, and posted on your website. Here’s where to comment to win!

  48. Cheryl Rainfield Says:

    Kerri, thank you so much for your kind words! (And please do not worry/feel embarrassed about calling me the wrong name. i took in the compassion and goodness from your comment. That’s what matters!)

    I think I’m probably extra sensitive to being silenced *because* I was through so much of the abuse I endured. But I also find myself getting upset at any book banning–though especially for books that deal with painful issues.

    I also appreciate your mentioning you know a family member who used self-harm to cope. There are a lot of us! And we do need to know we’re not alone, we can get through it, it will get better.

    And oh, what a fantastic suggestion–to have people buy Scars! I hadn’t thought about suggesting that; thank you!!

    And yes–please DO blog about this, and link back to me. Thank you!! I think it helps, the more we get the word out about this.

  49. Kathy Stinson Says:

    How ironic that this has happened during Freedom to Read Week. I’m among the many many authors whose had a book (books) challenged. The worst cases, I think, are the ones that aren’t made public. As you’re seeing, you’re not alone in defending your book and readers’ freedom to read it. I hope your publisher is joining in Scars’ defence, too. Hugs, Kathy

  50. Cheryl Rainfield Says:

    Becky–Thank you so very, very much for doing that! I so appreciate it. (beaming) I really feel librarians’ support–and writers, and readers. Today, it has made a huge difference for me. Instead of feeling alone and awful, I feel supported and encouraged, and heartened that the people who need it will find Scars! That more people will. I am delighted you put it on Banned Books Week FB!!!! Thank you ever so much!! (and, er, where exactly do i look to find the link? I’d like to link to the link! (laughing) I’m also glad to know about the FB page–very important!)

  51. Cheryl Rainfield Says:

    Vicki–I am heartened to hear that! Thank you! I’m so very glad you’d give Scars to your teens! I don’t think any book should be censored, either.

    Beth, thanks so much for sending a comment to the library, and letting me know about it! That’s another great way to contact them!

  52. Cheryl Rainfield Says:

    Kathy–yeah, it’s ironic that Scars was challenged during Freedom To Read Week! I am *very* glad I found out about this challenge, and so grateful for the voices joining me. To have our books be challenged or banned and not know…and just have the books slip away…ug and ug and ug. Hard to think about. But…I’m glad to have your company in this as well–another writer whose work I respect!

  53. peter carver Says:

    Good evening, Cheryl. I’ve just sent the library director in Boone County a message expressing my concern that they have considered stifling your important book — and pointing out to him/her that this is Freedom to Read Week here in Canada. Ironically tomorrow night there is an event at the Gladstone Hotel which is a panel discussing the question of who should select books for young readers — it’s being staged in support of this annual focus on intellectual freedom in Canada and beyond.
    There will always be people who think they know better about what other people should read — the sad thing about this is that it’s a public library taking this position. Clearly they’re wrong, and all we can do is tell them so, and watch out for similar wrongheaded idiocy closer to home — because, believe me, in Canada we have been just as dim on occasion. Chin up, Cheryl. It’s a fine book, and it will continue to find its audience.

  54. Kerri Lane/ Kaz Delaney Says:

    Thankyou! And good luck! There is a lot of support here and some great advice given and action taken.

    It’s quite exciting to be part of this! I so wish you well.

  55. Cheryl Rainfield Says:

    Oh, Peter, thank you so very much! (hugging you) I really appreciate your writing them–and the lovely things you said. And yes–we’ve got to keep watching out for book banning and challenges–I think it’s all idiotic! Books give so much good to readers. And yes–people deciding what others can or can’t read–that feels so wrong to me! I’m actually feeling–surprisingly–pretty good right now, because of all the lovely support and people standing up for Scars. I’m hoping they won’t remove it from the library….

  56. Sarah Jefferson Says:

    It seems that an important facet of this story is being ignored. The library involved is being demonized on this and other blogs. Libraries don’t challenge books – members of the public challenge books. Many great books have been challenged by all sorts of people – that does not mean that the school system or library involved challenged the book. Let’s place responsibilty where it belongs – on the person who challenged the book. Part of our freedom as Americans is that everyone is entitled to his/her own opinion even if it differs from our own or from the majority. So while everyone is blasting the library involved, we need to remember that a citizen challenged the book.
    Scars is a great book and I’m sure all of this contoversy will sell more books.

  57. Becky Johnson Says:

    Here is the link to the Banned Books Week FB page: – There is now another update about Scars on the Banned Books Week page from Beth Fehlbaum!

  58. Cheryl Rainfield’s Book Scars Challenged in Kentucky Library | Says:

    […] Blog she writes about the banning, but also the impact she knows her book has had on teens with this post. She wrote: It turns out that it was a book that many other teens needed, as well. I get a number of […]

  59. dldzioba Says:

    I said on TeenLitAuthors I’d write a blog post and I did.
    You’ve got a huge amount of support. I hope we can all help overturn this.

  60. Christine Tripp Says:

    Cheryl, “scars” has obviously kicked these parents (and/or so called educators) squarely in their soft underbelly, right where it hurts. Your book attempts to shatter their pattern of denial is the best course of action, or lack there of.
    These are the very people who’s children need to read the book. Adults who prefer to hide their heads in the sand instead of acknowledge the world is not a perfect place.
    Cutting can be a symptom of abuse, it can be one of the manifestations of depression. it happens, it happens a lot and there is always a reason for it. All self abuse/self inflicted pain, be it bulimia, anorexia, cutting, has a basis.
    I, along with others posting, can only assume this WILL bring even more attention to Scars. Teens will find it!
    Take heart in the fact that you are in excellent company when it comes to challenged/banned books and ALL of these went on to being best sellers and ended up in the hands of their readers, despite ignorant censorship.

  61. Becky Kempf Says:

    Boone County Public Library has not banned Ms. Rainfield’s book; in fact, it is still in our catalog and is currently checked out. Sarah Jefferson was correct in her post (#56) – a customer challenged the book, not the library. We simply contacted the author to find out more about her book as mandated in our policy for handling customer concerns. Currently we have four copies of the book – two on the shelves and two checked out.

    Please check our catalog:*&query=&page=0#__pos1

  62. Becky Kempf Says:

    Here’s a better link to our catalog. Thank you.

  63. Christine Tripp Says:

    >Part of our freedom as Americans is that everyone is entitled to his/her own opinion even if it differs from our own or from the majority.<

    This is also a freedom in Canada, the UK etc but having the right to an opinion should mean just that. Why would one person's opinion of a book result in a government institution going to the lengths of contacting an Author. If the Library has multiple copies of the book are they not already aware of it's contents. What would be the purpose in contacting the author to find out more about the book when it's physically there.
    It seems like a complete waste of everyone's time, including the libraries for one person's opinion/concern.

  64. concernedlibrarian Says:

    First of all, I’d like to say that as someone who is personally familiar with self-mutiliation, I’m glad that Scars is available for people to read. Having something to turn to when you feel alone can make all the difference, especially when the author has first hand experience. Ms. Rainfield, you’re (for lack of a better word) amazing for writing such a courageous story. Keeping that in mind, I agree with Sarah Jefferson in that we need to be concerned with who made the complaint. As a former librarian (and I think I can speak for most librarians when I say this), I know that the last thing that anyone wants is to ban a book. Keeping something available that has the potential to make a great impact on someone is not something that we want kept from the public. I know that there is an amount of protocol that all libraries must go through when a patron challenges a book. I know it seems tedious, but I think (at least from my knowledge of working with patron complaints and challenged books, etc.) is that we want to submit as much evidence we can to ensure that the book stays on the shelf. Being “aware” of the content of the book is fine, but having that extra information presents a stronger case and helps when we’re dealing with the patron who complained. As Becky noted, the book hasn’t been pulled. It’s a horrible thing for a book to be challenged but it’s not like they’ve taken it off the shelf. So before we raise our pitchforks and storm the building, let’s wait until a resolution is announced. Obviously, I can’t speak for the library in Boone County, and I don’t want to step on anyone’s toes, but I just wanted to lend an opinion as a former librarian.

  65. Sadi Says:

    I *wish* this sort of book would have been in my local library as I was growing up. I’m betting it would have helped me. As I said on another blog, I haven’t read this book yet, but when I was a teen, it would have spoken to me on *so many* levels (repressed sexual abuse, queer, self-harming). So much of adolescence is seeking out people/things/places one can identify with, to feel that there is someone/thing/place that resonates within oneself, that one may feel less alone. If I’d read a book like this as a teen… I can’t say what I’d have felt. However, I think it should be allowed to be where it can do the most good for the most people: In said library. In any library, really.

    Thank you.

  66. finette Says:

    Another librarian here. Christine, virtually all libraries have procedures that they must follow when materials are challenged. I’ve never heard of a policy of contacting the author in every case, but I think it’s a really good idea because authors obviously tend to be some of the most passionate defenders of their own books and of the freedom to read in general, as evidenced by Cheryl’s awesome post. I want to reiterate that the library and librarians are not the villains here–in fact I’m willing to bet many of the librarians are just as angry/sad as any of us here.

  67. Jennifer Fischetto Says:

    I am so excited Scars is now on the library’s shelves. :)

  68. Christine Tripp Says:

    To me, it sounds like the mandate or procedure must be changed. I have every faith in Librarians and their ability to know their readers, the books quality and contents and ability to “defend” it’s right to be on their shelves. I really don’t understand how and why an author can defend it any better, being so close to the item itself.
    If Librarians are charged with selecting content and then can be challenged in regards to their selection, it’s very sad.
    Should we just appoint parents to pick books to purchase? I trust our Librarians to do the job, based on their knowledge of who their “clients” are and their education.
    To have one person come into the Library and voice their opinion and to have that result in having to take action is unbelievable.
    I do wish I had this power over every other aspect of what my government does… but this is a democracy.

  69. Beth Fehlbaum Says:

    Cheryl, this comment was left on my website today in support of you & SCARS, and I told the writer I would forward it to you:

    Dear Ms. Rainfield,
    I stand behind you, not because I or my siblings suffered in anyway,
    but because we didn’t those who have earned my deepest sympathy
    and love… I need not know names, dates, places, circumstances, ect.
    I would never be able to read your book as I’m a sensitive man and I flatly refuse to let a perverse society rob me of my tender heart.
    I wish you well and may God Bless you,
    Respectfully Yours,
    Daniel Carroll
    Sunset Beach, CA 90742

    (Me again-) I want to remind your readers that in honor of Cheryl & SCARS and in support of SPEAKING LOUDLY, I am holding a contest thru Sat. 2/26. You can win a copy of SCARS and a signed copy of my novel, HOPE IN PATIENCE, by commenting on the post (address below). You can earn multiple entries by Tweeting, posting it on FB, and on your or someone else’s website. Here’s the link to the contest!

  70. B. A. Binns Says:

    Librarians are almost never the issue, and they face requests tohave books removed from the shelves on a regular basis. One a request is made they the book MUST go through the local review process, that is out of the librarian’s hands. In most parts of the country the boards end up supporting the librarians’ original decision to put the book on the shelf.

    BTW – what you don’t hear about are areas where either the governing body takes a unilateral decision to pull a book from the shelf, or a group like a school board decides never to obtain the book in the first place for fear of complaints. And that happens all the time.

  71. Nicole Says:

    I just bought it for my library. Sorry we missed it the first time around. Great reviews in SLJ and VOYA. Can’t wait to read it when it arrives. Good luck in this cause! Like one of the comments above says, banning is the one thing that will make a teenager absolutely want to read a book!

  72. Molly Walker Says:

    I agree I with B.A. Binns and other librarians. I was a librarian while in college, and instances like this occured quite often. This “process” that Boone County is going through is required, all libraries have this process and this process must occur when a patron complains. So instead of bashing the library how about we support them? I am sure the library is just as upset as everyone else. Libraries support freedom of speech and I highly doubt the book will be pulled. In my experience, it’s very rare a book is pulled from a public library. Everyone is intitled to their own opinion obviously this book struck a chord with the patron who made the complaint. They are using their right of freedom of speech to say something about it. The library is just doing their job, and I hope this gets resolved soon.

  73. Ellen Jaffe Says:

    The Boone County Library (and librarians)are, I think, supporting SCARS as they have purchased 4 copies. It’s good to clarify that it is a citizen/patron, not the library itself, who is challenging the book, and that the library has a review process it needs to follow if there is a complaint. A library, like a bookstore, is there to provide a variety of books: not all patrons will agree with or approve every book. A library, however, unlike a bookstore, is supported by public funds, and this is probably why they need to review complaints. On the other hand, the library is there to provide books and information for people who might not be able to afford to buy books. And people can challenge books for all sorts of reasons — in some ways, it seems a misuse of time and energy to review every challenge; on the other hand, what if a book promotes hatred or acts such as pedophilia (a book on this subject created a recent controversy on Amazon.) Is it clear who, in this situation, has the final say? (Library Board, librarians, other officiials)? I hope SCARS does stay on the shelves.

  74. Malcolm R. Campbell Says:

    Unfortunately, libraries do have to respond to these challenges. I don’t understand why one patron can cause such a mess. Sorry your book is caught up in this!

    Has the challenge been reported in the news anywhere? I wanted to mention it in my blog, but without some details or a link to an online news story, it’s difficult to “cover the event” as a newspaper might.

    If anyone has a link to a news story, it would help us fight this.


  75. Someone told me America was a place to express your ideas. But really we want to all be the same. « Cid Tyer Says:

    […] was going to post something else today, but I read Cheryl Rainfield’s blog on Tuesday and it’s been eating at me.  Her book, Scars, has been on my To Read list for a […]

  76. Sarah Jefferson Says:

    I have been following this site for several days now. I’ve noticed that the author’s original post has been changed and “updated” several times to seem more positive toward libraries and librarians. The information should have been checked in the first place. Initial comments incorrectly referred to this as involving a school. The reactionary responses and rush to post on fb and twitter is fascinating. The institution involved had its phone number and website listed on this blog so that outrage could be expressed to the library director. Suggestions of going to the media were discussed. Responses from the author to blog comments suddenly stopped.
    This makes me wonder: would any of the people who contacted the library or library director in outrage be willing to take responsibility for reactionary responses fueled by mis-information? Responsibilty for “information” posted on blogs lies with the author.
    So documentation of the original blog, changes by the author, comments and responses makes a valuable contribution to the ongoing analysis of blogs, social media and reactionary responses.

    Data on sales of Scars before and after this controversy should be interesting. Will excepts of this be used for publicity? Only time will tell. That could make for another intersting analysis.

  77. Lauren Knowlton Says:

    just wanted to let you know, as a youth services librarian, I am emailing the Boone County Public Library in respectful support of your book. good luck!

  78. Cheryl Rainfield Says:

    Thank you, Lauren; I really appreciate it! And I’m so glad you’ll do it in a respectful way!

  79. Cheryl Rainfield Says:

    Sarah J, I always assumed it was a patron who made the challenge. I didn’t realize that some people would not assume that. My focus was on Scars being challenged, on the possibility of it being removed, because it is my book, I am the author, and I care about it (and the issues it deals with) fiercely. I know what it’s like to feel alone, and not be able to find a reflection of one’s own pain any where.

    It was the first challenge to Scars that I’ve been aware of in process. I was grateful to the library for telling me–and I wanted to make sure Scars was kept on the shelves. I think it’s important to have support, to show support. Of course I spoke out about this. Passionately.

    I stopped responding to comments because I’ve been finding this whole process emotionally taxing, and when some of the comments seemed to criticize me, I found it painful. I needed a breather. Once I found out the specific challenge, I found it even more painful. But it has always been important to me to reach out to others, and that is what I’ve done. I’m grateful for all support, from everyone who spoke out, and from libraries.

  80. Friday Bookish Buzz: Bye-Bye-Bye February | Entertainment Blogs Says:

    […] *Another YA book is being challenged. This time it’s Scars by Cheryl Rainfield. […]

  81. Ru Freeman: I’m With Meghan Cox Gurdon | Blog Of The Year Says:

    […] to each heinous website. And, just like the patron of the Boone County Library in Kentucky (who tried to get Cheryl Rainfield’s book Scars off the shelves) points out, and this is close to my […]

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