New Zealand’s Film and Literature Board lifted the ban on Ted Dawe’s Into the River after removing it from stores, libraries, and schools across the county.
A prequel to Dawe’s Thunder Road, Into the River follows Te Arepa Santos, who survives a brush with the spirit world but finds himself in danger again years later. Away from his ancestral lands, nobody can save him but himself. It won the New Zealand Post Children’s Book Award in 2013.
“The board’s majority decision is a victory for freedom of expression and the right of authors and publishers to deal with the challenging social issues young people face today in high-quality works of literature,” said New Zealand managing director Margaret Thompson to the New Zealand Herald.
New Zealand’s Film and Literature Board of Review initially banned the book after the Christian group Family First complained about its “sexually explicit content, drug use and the use of a slang term for female genitalia,” according to the Guardian.