Chris Crutcher on the latest Sarah Byrnes challenge.


When STAYING FAT FOR SARAH BYRNES is challenged, there are things a school board might want to know.  For example, the event of Sarah Byrne's burning comes from a real life event; I didn't dream up something for the sake of shock.  The story is meant to be a celebration of friendship under fire: a young boy is saved by an unlikely ally and returns the favor when the stakes are at their highest.  What I like most about the mail I receive is the number of kids who say they wish they had, or could be, a friend like that.
If the attacks the book receives are from the religious right, I can say this: the book was never meant to be an attack on Christianity, but rather to expose the dangers of rigidity.
Happily, it looks like the challenge is a non-issue--the book will remain on the library shelves.  But the essay is worth reading anyway.