A high school in Florida has axed “Little Brother,” a best-selling young adult novel that follows the story of a 17-year-old computer whiz, from its summer reading program for promoting “hacker culture.”
The Booker T. Washington Public High School’s librarian and English department had already approved the book, but the principal recently reversed this decision after reading reviews of the novel.
According to a blog post from the book’s author and Boing Boing editor Cory Doctorow (via Ars Technica), the principal said the book painted a positive view of questioning authority and “hacker culture.”
The principal also mentioned that one parent had complained about profanity as well, but Doctorow said there’s no profanity in the novel.
“In short, he made it clear that the book was being challenged because of its politics and content,” Doctorow wrote in reference to the school’s principal.
The school proceeded to cancel the summer reading program and placed the book on its optional reading list for 11th-grade students taking AP English instead.
Here’s the official synopsis for “Little Brother:”
Marcus, a.k.a “w1n5t0n,” is only seventeen years old, but he figures he already knows how the system works — and how to work the system. Smart, fast, and wise to the ways of the networked world, he has no trouble outwitting his high school’s intrusive but clumsy surveillance systems.
But his whole world changes when he and his friends find themselves caught in the aftermath of a major terrorist attack on San Francisco. In the wrong place at the wrong time, Marcus and his crew are apprehended by the Department of Homeland Security and whisked away to a secret prison where they’re mercilessly interrogated for days.
The book debuted at No. 9 on the New York Times best-sellers list for children’s books in the chapter books category in 2008.
Doctorow’s publisher Tor Books has agreed to send 200 copies of “Little Brother” to Booker T. Washington High School after the school’s faculty asked for his help in fighting back against censorship. Lithograph posters displaying the novel’s full text are also being sent to students for free.