”I was shocked. I really didn’t think they would have that kind of book,” said Linda Westberg, mother of a girl from the school to the newspaper.
Another mother, whose 7-year-old daughter brought the offending book home, agrees.
”It describes masturbation and what happens in the body when a person gets horny. I want children to be allowed to be children for as long as possible,” she said to the paper.
The book that sparked the controversy is entitled “Lilla Snippaboken”, employing a common Swedish slang term for vagina, and is written by Swedish author Dan Höjer
The book covers most of what there is to know about female genitalia.
From the book, the girls can learn about what their sex organs look like, what female arousal is and what it is like getting your period.
The book, which was published in 2004, also brings up the way people have viewed the female sex throughout history and touches upon 12-year-old girls’ own thoughts about sex and masturbation.
According to GD, it also explains words that are connected with female genitalia like ‘tampon’ and ‘discharge’, and with sex, like ‘making out’ and ‘petting’, as well as four-letter words in common usage in Sweden.
Höjer is also the author of a book about the male sexual organs, “Lilla Snoppboken”, which describes the male genitalia, and is aimed at young boys.
However, parents of the children at the Gävle school want the book pulled from the shelves of the library or at least for the teacher to limit the children’s access to it.
But Anki Gustravsson, the acting principal at the school, does not agree that it is wrong for the school library to have childrens’ books about genitalia on its shelves.
”This book is classed as material for sexual education aimed at children. We have students up to the age of eleven at this school and this book is very popular with the older kids,” Gustavsson said to GD.
She also said that as the four-letter Swedish slang terms for boys’ and girls’ privates start being bandied about, it is useful for the kids to have somewhere to have it all explained.
According to Gusatvsson, the teachers will have a meeting to adress the parents’ concerns, but said that there are at present no plans to pull the books about boys’ and girls’ sexual organs from the library’s collection.
”That would be censorship and we don’t do that here,” she said, stressing that the school doesn’t foist the book onto the kids but simply have it available if they need something explained.
According to the national curriculum of Swedish schools students between the ages of 7 and 9 should be aware of the name and the function of the different body parts and children between 10 and 12 should have been informed about puberty, sexuality and reproduction.