School sends fourth grader home with a sexual and violent book

Genesee County, Michigan (WXYZ) - A father is speaking out with a warning for parents after his 9-year-old daughter brought home a violent and graphic book from school.

The book his daughter brought home is "Girl, Stolen," by April Henry.  The child chose it from a collection of books in her fourth grade classroom. After she read it, she had some questions for her parents.

"There was sex, rape, murder, violence, kidnapping.  Many things a fourth grade, 9-year-old child should not be exposed to," said William Bird.

Bird says he read the book after his daughter started talking about it.  He was shocked. 

It tells the story of what happens after a 16-year-old girl is kidnapped during a carjacking.   At one point, a man attacks the girl and says, "Are you a virgin, Cheyenne?  Are you?  Because maybe it's time for you to become a real woman."

Bird showed his daughter's teacher at Lake Fenton's Torrey Hill Intermediate School what was in the book, and she agreed it wasn't appropriate. 

7 Action News called the school to find out what was being done to make sure this doesn't happen again.  The superintendent tells us he has asked all teachers to go through the books in their classrooms and make sure they or the librarian are familiar with them.  If they are not, get familiar with them or pull them from the shelves.

As for how this book ended up in the fourth grader's classroom, the teacher said she got the book from Scholastic, a company that sells books to kids and schools.  The school says sometimes with large orders the company provides extra books for the classroom. 

7 Action News called Scholastic.  The company denies providing this book to a fourth grade classroom.  It says perhaps there was confusion at the school because the book is at a fifth grade reading level due to its level of difficulty.   The content however has it recommended for kids in seventh grade or higher.

William Bird says he will be keeping a closer eye on the books his daughter brings home from school.  He says he wanted to warn other parents that they might not want to trust companies like Scholastic, schools, and teachers to decide what is appropriate for their kids.  

"And even though this book wasn't deemed appropriate for a fourth grader, it was for a seventh grader. Which I choose to disagree with and I think other parents may as well," said Bird

Do you read the books your child brings home from school?  Leave your comments below.

Contact Action News Reporter Kim Russell at


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