By Michael Brindley | NashuaTelegraph.com | May 10, 2010
From Original Article:
A Pennichuck Middle School parent is challenging whether “Wait Till Helen Comes: A Ghost Story” should be available to students in middle school libraries.
The parent, whose name was not released, is objecting to the book’s themes of talking to the dead, spiritualism and “the belief that a part of the body survives after death and that you can communicate with it,” according to the School District.
The book, written in 1986 by Mary Downing Hahn, is a horror novel intended for young adults. The story is about a 7-year-old girl named Heather who begins communicating with the ghost of a little girl named Helen. A search of various websites puts the book at a reading level of children ages 9-12.
Althea Sheaff, executive director of curriculum for the district, said eight to 10 copies of the book are available in the city’s three middle school libraries.
“The books are used for independent reading or for a small group,” Sheaff wrote in an e-mail. “It is not a required reading selection.”
Conrad said the district will follow its policy of establishing a seven-member Instructional Materials Review Committee. The committee is made up of the principal, teacher and librarian from the school, staff member responsible for selecting the book, the assistant superintendent and two members of the Board of Education.
The committee is responsible for reviewing the complaint and coming up with a recommendation to the superintendent. Part of the committee’s job will be to read the book in question. The complainant can appeal the decision of the superintendent to the Board of Education.