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Do You Dare Disturb the Universe?

By Alicia Dorr in Arts & Entertainment on Sep 20, 2007 9:10PM

Over the years, revered authors, scholars, educators and the cast of Footloose have tried to get people to stop banning books. The beat goes on.

chocolate.jpgConcerned parents spoke out strongly against The Chocolate War at a local school council meeting this week. The book, which is required reading for 7th graders at John H. Kinzie School on the Southwest Side, has been called into question by parents ever since its debut in the mid-70s due to explicit language, violence and sexual content (masturbation).

It’s not the book’s sensational content that keeps drawing teachers and administrators but its themes. Robert Cormier wrote a book about individualism in the face of conformity from a young adult’s perspective, and that’s what many argue makes it fitting for 7th graders dealing with peer pressure, the awkwardness of puberty and, yes, sometimes masturbation.

Kinzie principal Sean Egan is sticking with the book, and wrote a letter to parents addressing their grievances, and explaining the reasons why The Chocolate War will still be required reading for 7th graders in the district.

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