Internet bands together to donate book pulled from summer reading list

Internet bands together to donate book pulled from summer reading list
Published: Sep. 9, 2015 at 5:15 PM EDT|Updated: Sep. 9, 2015 at 8:46 PM EDT
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CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - Charleston County librarian Andria Amaral can barely see her desk over the more than 20 boxes piled up in her downtown office.

For the last two weeks, donated copies of, "Some Girls Are," have been coming in nonstop, thanks to donations following a passionate internet campaign.

"The people in the mail room aren't thrilled with me right now," she joked.

It all started with a call for help from online blogger, Kelly Jensen, upset the book was pulled from one of the summer reading lists at West Ashley High School.

A parent expressed concerns with come of the books contents. Author Courtney Summers, tackles issues like teenage bullying, and sexual assault.

"It doesn't pull punches," Amaral said.  "It's powerful."

Jensen offered to donate copies to the Charleston County Public Library, purchased by many of her followers, and coordinated the effort with Amaral. The two had never met, other than interactions on social media.

Amaral said she expected to receive one hundred copies, tops. Instead, the library now has more than one thousand books in just over two weeks, many of which are showcased on a special display, complete with a personal note from the author, also in favor
of the campaign.

"The fact that this book was donated, by so many strangers tells them there is such a huge community that really cares about them."

Olivia Miller, 13, read "Some Girls Are," at the recommendation of Amaral. 

"It's real," the 9th grader said. "It was almost like you were feeling like they were feeling," she said.

The Charleston County School District has since created a Literacy Advisory Council to review practices in dealing with student reading material.

The council is made up of parents and educators from elementary, middle and high school levels, as well as community and faith-based representatives, and board members.

In the meantime, Amaral continues to hand out free copies of "Some Girls Are, from shelves at the Calhoun Street branch.

She said she hopes to split donations between two other branches in West Ashley, within reach of students interested in reading for themselves.

"I think she also believes we should have a choice of what we put into our lives," said Olivia Miller.

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