New Play Tells Story of Librarian Who Worked To Save Banned Children’s Book

“A segregationist senator wanted this book burned.”

Laura Weber Davis, WDET

Banned books have been the subject of debate for as long as books have been printed. Harry Potter, Huck Finn, Catcher in the Rye. These are all titles we’ve heard at the center of banned-book controversies. And the people who are often there to defend these books are librarians.

A new play premiering tonight in Detroit looks at how one librarian went to bat for a children’s book banned for including relationship between a white rabbit and a black rabbit.

“Alabama Story” was written by Metro Detroit native Kenneth Jones, who appeared on Detroit Today with host Stephen Henderson.

“A segregationist senator wanted this book burned,” says Jones.

Jones says he first read about the librarian in the New York Times and immediately thought of her story as a play. And he said the senator quickly became a nuanced villain in his mind.

“I was interested in painting a picture of the villain being complex… and the hero being complex.”

To hear more about “Alabama Story,” click on the audio player above.



  • Detroit Today
    Dynamic and diverse voices. News, politics, community and the issues that define our region. Hosted by Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Stephen Henderson, Detroit Today brings you fresh and perceptive views weekdays at 9 am and 7 pm.