The elephant in the room

I spotted two upcoming events posted online today that missed mention in last week’s newspapers.

The first one is Teen After Hours: Diversionary Theatre presents Improv, happening July 28 at the Lakeside library; the second one is a children’s story hour featuring “Elephants Are Not Birds” and “The Parrots Go Bananas” which is reportedly being held at various libraries across the county.

A teen improv night and a kids’ story hour might not sound like the most newsworthy items until one begins to unpack the situations surrounding the public events. Then, it gets ugly.

As a local parent who holds a B.A. in theater and an M.A. Ed, I smiled at the thought of Diversionary staff coming out to Lakeside to teach bored teens a thing or two about improv. I scrolled for more information and noticed comments on a local webpage indicating a prayer circle is being held across from the library in protest. Some parents have also “notified Supervisor Joel Anderson” in an attempt to influence local elected officials to shut down the event.

However, the kids’ story hour does not appear to have sparked any protest. If you haven’t heard about it, “Elephants Are Not Birds” features colorful animals romping around on Freedom Island, is published by Brave Books, and was penned by a relatively new author named Ashley St. Claire, who worked for Turning Point ministries until photographs emerged revealing her at a dinner party with white supremacists.

While I understand you cannot list every event happening across the county, I would think these two deserve mention. After all, it isn’t every day that a book written by someone socializing with white supremacists is featured at a kids’ story hour while parents pray away a professional teacher from interacting with teens at a publicly funded library.

Jessica Webb