A Progressive Summer (Reading List)

Progressive Summer Reading List contains a book detailing pedophiliac relationship

As Providence students were preparing to return to a school system that the Wall Street Journal recently labeled “An Education Horror Show,” the school department was preparing to start the school year on a positive note.  Part of the strategy was to give every student a motivational book titled Shoot Your Shot, by Vernon Brundage, Jr.

Progressive complaints put a stop to that.  The book tells the personal stories of the lives of NBA players and makes passing references to God.  While activists may have a problem with any mention of a supreme being, some Rhode Islanders might find it to be a valuable counter to the official Providence school’s summer reading list posted online (click here for the pdf) by Reading Intervention Specialist Tricia Bowler and prepared by Providence Community Library & Providence Public Library staff.

Over their summers, high school students were encouraged to read a variety of progressive works and sexually explicit novels.  One of them is on the American Library Association’s list of  “The Top 100 Banned/Challenged Books,” and it refers to God 34 times, although mostly as a swear or point of emphasis.  The book, America, by E.R. Frank, details child sexual abuse.

The book contains graphic sexual content involving an eight year old and his caretaker. The boy — named America — describes how he physically enjoys sexual acts with his molester, Browning:

We don’t read stories too much anymore. Sometimes it starts out like that, but mostly Browning just begins by touching. At first, I believe him that it’s cool, because it feels real nice. He talks to me soft, and his voice gets low, and he pats me all light, the way a father would take care of his baby, and it feels good. He tells me how what we’re doing is a special secret, and how he wouldn’t get with just anybody this way, and how he’s helping me learn how to be a man, and how I’m such a good learner.

The nice part used to make me forget that it’s dirty but lately Browning’s stopped talking to me.

Lately, he gets quiet and goes far away while it’s happening, and even though he looks at my face, he doesn’t see me. Then it still feels good in my body, but it feels bad everywhere else, especially when after it’s over, he starts snoring without getting into his own bed, and he’s real heavy and makes my arm or my leg fall asleep, and he doesn’t even say good night.

As the characters begin to fear that the molestation will be discovered, Browning threatens to remove the skin off of America’s fingers with a carrot peeler leading to America setting Browning on fire.

Frank writes using the child’s perspective: “Or what if I can’t help it, and I end up telling her about Browning and me, and she doesn’t believe it? Or what if she does believe it, and she wonders why I don’t make Browning stop, and then she figures out that my body even likes it, a little?”

There is no indication on the reading list that the novel explores these themes.  Providence parents may be dismayed to find out that the school district is presenting disturbing sexual themes to children as young as fourteen through the reading list.

“We should just let our kids be kids. I don’t want my children exposed to these kinds of ideas yet, I’m very careful about what they can read. My oldest is only 13. Stuff like this is one more reason why I home school, and we need more school choice. I can’t trust the Providence School System with my kids, ” said Ceasare Rivas. Rivas is a mother of two who lives in Providence.

The reading list, made up of over 40 books for grades nine and ten, includes numerous social-justice-warrior-inspired works.  A review of the Good Reads summaries of the books on the freshman and sophomore list revealed no books that apparently present a Christian, conservative, or traditionalist perspective.

Making the summer reading list for 14-year-olds is Honor Girl, by Maggie Thrash, a cartoon story about a lesbian experience at summer camp.  Also on the list is Symptoms of Being Human, by Jeff Garvin, a story about a gender-fluid teen. Simon vs. the Homo Sapien Agenda, by Becky Albertalli, is on the list and tells the story of a homosexual teen blackmailed for engaging in an online relationship. The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-time Indian, by Sherman Alexie, has been banned for discussion of adult themes, but is recommended for Providence students.  So are two books about sexual violence, Asking For It, by Louise O’Neill, about the gang rape of teenager, and All the Rage, by Courtney Summers, about sexual assault.

Many of the books on the summer reading list explore a racial divide in America from a progressive perspective.

None of these books attracted any attention or media coverage, let alone the level of scandal generated by Shoot Your Shot.  Tyler Rowley, a millennial pro-life activist and president of Servants of Christ for Life, wrote the following about that controversy in a letter to the Providence Journal:

A crumbling school system. Kids not learning. Kids not caring. Kids hurting. Drugs. Gangs. Broken homes. Bullying. Isolation. A book emerges to help inspire. It mentions God. A glimmer of the transcendent! Hope! Objective truth! Purpose! And then, a few teachers are offended that the book has “religious undertones.” The book is pulled as mandatory reading. Back to school.

  • Rhett Hardwick

    I have a guy doing some work for me, who lives near a playground. He believes there are a number of pedophiles there. When he sees someone he believes to be suspicious, he “has a talk with them”. You should see this guy, he must have 34″ biceps. On the other hand, I hope he is not intimidating guys who just thought to take a seat and watch kids play.

    As to the books selected, people who “live through books” may lead different lives.

  • Joe Smith

    Good research – thanks for post. Whether kids actually pay attention and read those books is another issue; check out the college freshmen stats done by UCLA CIRP on students who read for pleasure..pretty good chance few of these books were actually read..

  • Thank you for writing the article and bringing this to our attention. Great information collected and I find it troublesome that ‘crickets’ are the response to your questions being asked. I would like to know if the school psychologist, English Teacher and Librarian collaborated on what was appropriate?

    I do feel it is important having books available to teens about the sexual identity exploration. We all need to assimilate in a thoughtful way and those that are conflicted and have so many mixed feelings as a teen, would no doubt benefit from being validated in their feelings. As far as the graphic child molestation or other forms of child abuse, or violence being approved in some of these districts book lists…they need to have a psychologist weigh in on appropriateness.

    It’s impossible to censor out in cyberspace-land, but surely in schools there must be some care for wellbeing in that which is chosen. We all have different levels of comfort that others, and therefore perception is subjective…but there better be a good process in place going forward.

  • Mickey Mouse

    Wow, I never thought it would actually a good thing that the kids in Providence could not read. Great research work! And a public thank you to Fran Gallo for her commitment to the children. The state legislator spend hundreds of hours promoting abortion expansion, while DCYF was out of control, and while the third largest school system was not educating their students. With the large number of educational institutes in Providence, it’s a disgusting travesty. Brown, RISD, J&W, PC, RIC, Wheeler School, Mose Brown, Lincoln School, etc. The city is full of edu institutions, and we can’t prioritize learning of the minority students who need it most? Instead they are promoting abortion, just in case Roe gets overturned. It’s a travesty! When we favor killing minority children through abortion, and only educating rich children in private schools….there’s serious racism alive and well in the Democratic city and state. It must end. If we have any hope of getting a federal bailout, we better send some Republicans to Washington.