December 12 2013 Latest news:
by Rhiannon Edwards
Friday, October 21, 2011
Highgate School has banned a bestselling children’s author from its junior library and cancelled his visit to the school.
Robert Muchamore, 38, the Crouch End-based author of the Cherub series of books for 11 to 15-year-olds, was set to give a reading at the school in Bishopswood Road this month after being invited by a school librarian.
But before he could give the reading, he was contacted by the prestigious independent school to say his books had been banned and his appearance was cancelled.
“The email said there had been ‘a number of complaints from parents and the material has been deemed unsuitable’,” said Mr Muchamore. “I think it is quite strong to say that.”
The author has English language sales of almost four million and has 35,000 hits a day on his Cherub website.
He is concerned that a few parental complaints have led to the complete ban.
“What worries me is it’s the tiny minority who are vocal about it who manage to get their way,” he said. “It’s not quite as serious but it is like the BNP – a few extreme people get attention.”
Highgate School headteacher Adam Pettitt confirmed that the author’s appearance at the junior school – which teaches seven to 11-year-olds – had been cancelled after the school was “asked to look more closely” at the content of the books by two families.
Mr Muchamore is the author of 18 books about a secret British spy organisation which employs children as spies.
He says the content of his books is no more than you would see on an episode of EastEnders.
The books are on the compulsory reading list of other schools, including Mill Hill Comprehensive School.
Highgate School defended its decision to cancel Mr Muchamore’s visit, which was scheduled for Years Five and Six, the oldest groups in the junior school.
Mr Pettitt said: “We were asked to look more closely at Mr Muchamore’s books by two families.
“Having done so, we took the view that they were more suitable for the senior school age range than for the whole of the junior school age range where pupils as young as seven have access to the stock.
“It didn’t make sense to invite Mr Muchamore to the junior school given this decision. Ideally we would have made these checks before extending the invitation, and we are sorry that Mr Muchamore has been inconvenienced.”
Mr Muchamore initially believed the books had been banned from both the junior and senior schools, something which the school denies.