The Fairhope City Council heard from more concerned citizens Monday about inappropriate material reported in the Fairhope Public Library.
Wendy Pickering, a private investigator from Orange Beach, told the council that concerned parents across Baldwin County had contacted her about some books. She looked into one book found at the Fairhope library titled "It's Perfectly Normal."
Pickering said the book is child pornography and has alerted the FBI with her concerns.
***WARNING: Explicit image from book blurred below***
The book, by Robie Harris, is illustrated by Michael Emberley. It explains sex and puberty to children and shows depictions of sexual activity. Those depictions include cartoon drawings of naked people, sex positions and close-up private parts.
"It absolutely, and there is almost zero doubt in my mind that this book, this one particular – there are several of them are, but this is the one I am going to talk about – this is child pornography," Pickering said. "I am actually sending, on Wednesday, a report to the FBI. I have already contacted Kay Ivey's office and I was told they are taking this very seriously."
Pickering isn't the only person voicing concern. Parents nationwide have made online review videos and reviews on Amazon.
A woman named "Shannon" said the book is too much for little ones.
"I bought this book for my 10 year old son," she wrote on Amazon. "After getting the book I looked at it, and it looked like kids' porn. The pictures that were in this book was too much. They actually showed pictures of a girl and a boy masturbating. There were pictures of a girl from baby to 100 naked. The book says it's for 10 yrs and up but I don't know if I would ever show this to my son. It went back."
Pickering said the Protect Act of 2003 makes this book illegal. She asked council members if they fund the library, and they said they do.
"Do you think it might be wise that you look at this book, you read this book and you look at the law," she said. "This law right here, which is a federal law, which is why I am contacting the FBI over this and I have friends in the FBI, I've shown them the pictures. It's obviously, it's obviously child porn. There is no question about it. Are you concerned that you may be funding this? I need to know because if you weren't aware of it, now you are aware of it. From this point on, if you do not do something to protect those kids. There's pictures of masturbation."
Some concerned citizens have been checking out books they are concerned about to keep them from children's hands. Pickering told the public not to do that.
"If you are checking them out to keep them from the children, get them back in the library because they will have some explaining to do," she said.
A sophomore from Bayshore Christian School came to speak to the council for the second meeting in a row. Jonah Elliot said some statements made by those concerned about books have been misrepresented. He said he does not want books banned but simply wants them put into the adult section so children cannot check them out.
"Due to the pornographic nature of those books, I believe that would be the correct move to make here," Elliot said. "But, I just found concern at that because our arguments are being misrepresented."
Following public comment Monday, the Fairhope City Council went into executive session.
The book controversy has been ongoing throughout Baldwin County and Alabama. The City of Foley responded to concerns by removing books deemed inappropriate for children and teens and implementing a policy requiring children 15 years of age and younger to be accompanied by a parent or guardian to check out material.
To connect with the author of this story or to comment, email [email protected].
Don't miss out! Subscribe to our newsletter and get our top stories every weekday morning.