Elementary Book Review-MELISSA (FORMERLY GEORGE)



Email sent to employee charged with heading up the committees, asking to escalate the QUESTIONED MATERIALS AND CONTROVERSIAL ISSUES IN CURRICULUM AND INSTRUCTION BOOK CHALLENGE to the next level as stated in Policy 606.1: Part C


03/21/24 Email to District- Concerns Not Addressed

We would like to escalate this challenged book review/ committee report to the next level.  

We do not feel our concerns have been addressed through Policy 606.1, nor through the findings that were given by the review committee. 

We would like to escalate up the book review on MELISSA for the following reasons:

For starters, the concerns were never addressed.

The challenge form I filled out stated the book discusses hormone therapy, puberty blockers, how to do a web search on these topics and how to clear a browsing history so parents do not know what their child is looking into. The committee report has the concerns down as : This book is dangerous to students because of content related to the transgender character’s experiences. These are two very different ideas. 

Does the review team even know what is age- appropriate, and what this book is suggesting to prepubescent children, with underdeveloped minds, who are unable to know the lifelong consequences of what these types of choices ( puberty blockers/hormone replacement) may bring? Would you give an elementary student a book on rape, how to build a bomb, or on illicit drugs? I'm certain you won't find books with those topics in the elementary schools. The list of examples of what wouldn't be appropriate is endless. 

Does the committee really not see the dangers in keeping secrets from family members? This book is dangerous for this very reason, and the ones listed above. Not because a child is exploring who they are. 

So, for the committee to side line the concern and appropriateness of the actual text/topic in question is unacceptable. They merely state: . "It is a really brief statement about her brother teaching her how to clear the web browser history."  Does it matter if it is one sentence or more? The seed has been planted. They other concerns were never even addressed. Please take the time to address the full concern of hormone therapy, puberty blockers, and internet search and clearing. 

No one had a concern about this book using offensive or obscene language. This book should not have been evaluated based these criteria. 

Again, what does cultural proficiency have to do with this book? Do we simply apply this term to allow anything and everything into the district? Or is it being used as a shield to protect the district because it is on the topic of LGBTIA? Are we never to use any discretion because of the sensitivity around these two distinct topics? Clearly higher standards are called for. Not less.

Lastly, it needs to be considered that you do have very young children, from kindergarten up, that are able to read this book. When they are searching for a more challenging book, MELISSA looks very enticing from the cover. 

Further, this book does not meet the standard of what is laid out in the following policies:  

Policy 606 

1. Supports the goals and standards of the educational program;   

Contrary to the district strategic mission and values, this book do not promote unity and inclusion.  Rather it presents a single viewpoint on a socially and culturally divisive issue that devalues the morals and beliefs of several cultures and faiths. This book is antagonistic towards the goals of cultural proficiency and fails to facilitate mutual understanding between opposing viewpoints and values essential for building respectful diverse relationships.  

2. Considers the needs, age, culture, and maturity of students;  

Proper consideration would establish standards that could necessitate excluding a book or restricting it to certain grade levels that are appropriate for the topic.  The material may have a certain reading level but that is not a primary determinant of who has access.  Reviewers failed to establish or identify any child sexual development standards for considering which grade levels are appropriate and failed to acknowledge which cultures and faiths may not find this material appropriate.  Maturity varies across students, but it is incumbent on the reviewers to establish clinical support for developmental maturity in understanding certain sexuality and gender topics, evidence that supports a high majority of students, rather than rare exceptions, who can comprehend topics and their real-world impacts.  

Policy 606.1  

1. Controversial issues, duly selected for their educational value, age appropriateness, and congruence with adopted curricula are intrinsically relevant to an educational program that seeks to provide students with the means to become participating citizens.  

Reviewers did not indicate which adopted curricula these books were intended to supplement and how the treatment of the pertinent sexuality and gender topics in the book could reinforce adopted curricula.  For example, are there similar topics being taught as required curricula in classrooms?  

 Per Media FAQ that provides Guidelines for Media Specialists  

  • Choose materials appropriate for the subject area and for the age, emotional development, ability level, learning style, and social, emotional, and intellectual development of the students for whom the materials are selected  
  • Incorporate accurate and authentic factual content from authoritative sources  

  • Exhibit a high degree of potential user appeal and interest  

  • Meet high standards in literary, artistic, and aesthetic quality; technical aspects; and physical format  

  • Comply with policies of the Bloomington Public Schools  

  • Books are de-selected and discarded because they no longer fit the selection criteria above, because they are dated, obsolete, or have inaccurate materials.  

  • The selection criteria above will be used to determine if donated books will be added to a school collection.  

This book were not simply chosen to challenge because we do not agree with the viewpoint shared, and the Strategic Plan shouldn't be used as a guideline or as a validation to refuse our request. Inclusion means to not exclude someone because of race or gender. It does not mean we bend over backward and allow anything and everything to come through the doors just because it has a "gender" or "LGBTIA" label on it. Discretion is not thrown out the window because people cannot determine what the meaning of inclusivity means. In fact, more discretion should be used in our fast-paced, ever-evolving world to protect against treating our children as though they are guinea pigs for trial. Furthermore, the district has 174 "gender" titles between all the elementary schools. Someone would be hard pressed to say you were not being inclusive...if that is how you chose to see the term.  

Also, these books are available at local libraries, allowing for parental involvement to help young readers process the information and ideas they are reading. Self-selection at the school library does not allow for parental control and involvement. Allowing these books in the school libraries also gives implied permission to teachers to read this controversial content to students. An "opt in" at the elementary and middle schools is extremely important in respect of parental control privilege.  

The selection rationale lists the book as being checked out only 4 times. It is not of high interest to the students. And please start noticing the copy right dates. Most are within the last 5 or so years. That is when the LGBTIA agenda started getting pushed on kids through social media, schools, and by publishers. This is not by coincidence. There is an agenda upon our children. It is indoctrination.

More specific to the books, we did not agree for these reasons:  

We believe that the selection of this book did not include consideration of the readers age, maturity, and accurate information. Nor was the culture of the majority of the student base in ISD 271 considered.  

The labeling of a child as transgender and PROMOTING hormone replacement/ puberty blockers is highly controversial. Other countries have already seen the negative effects of affirming and providing therapies for minors, and are taking a step back and not allowing this to continue. 

This book has no educational value to support curriculum. It is not age-appropriate nor is it appropriate for students' emotional level and intellectual development. The book is not of a high literary standard, and is not related to curriculum or any academic standard.


The following resources are from another community member.

 The WPATH Files — Environmental Progress

 The complete thoroughly documented report including extensive copies of leaked internal WPATH documents is here:

 WPATH+Report+and+Files(N).pdf (squarespace.com)

 To learn more about the worldwide reaction of medical professional to the WPATH report please read here:

Fear and doubt in the WPATH Files - by Bernard Lane


Please note that gender dysphoria remains a valid psychological condition experienced by some young people who, medical professionals acknowledge, will generally grow out of this psychological condition as they mature (sometimes with the aid of psychological counseling).

Other Countries putting a pause on gender affirming care:





Other resources previously sent:


https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0202330   (rapid onset dysphoria for girl's is the mean age of 16-media induced)    

https://widerlenspod.substack.com/p/128-as-weird-as-a-chicken-crying-e4a  (American Academy of P Pediatrics (AAP) oppressing Gender info and basing recommendation based on weak info.) 



The following is from a professional community member:

"We know that children who are on the Autism Spectrum and those who have experienced trauma are more vulnerable to society pressures:

"Neurology is a complex study and it's difficult to find the explicit information on this topic. That's the problem on the other side of the argument, because there is no simple article that explains how this influence can have a significant impact, they just assume that none exist, but it's not black and white and it is complex and therefore, we need to use caution. Application is important when reading these articles. The other side's argument is "I believe in science." However, there are no solid scientific facts that back their side up, there are multiple reasons why we need to tread lightly in anything that we would like to influence because it has great societal impact over time. These are articles that, although not always specific to a black and white answer, tell us why we should hesitate when endorsing sexuality and influence through constant displays. It's not about proving them wrong; it is about encouraging a pause. Science isn't based on foundational facts, they are simply hypotheses, science is based on discovery and moving forward when we learn something new. We can't be experimenting on our children; plain and simple."







  * Look especially at cumulative effects model and beyond in this article



If you do not choose to take these books from the shelves, and to stop purchasing and promoting them, then you are just as guilty of exploiting children as the publishers and the medical professional that are making a profit off of children. 

For the safety and well-being of all students,