CBLDF defended more than a dozen books from challenges and bans in 2016 — some of them were challenged on multiple occasions. Here’s a snapshot of what we did to defend the freedom to read this year…
This One Summer by Mariko Tamaki and Jillian Tamaki
In February, less than a week after This One Summer by Jillian and Mariko Tamaki was removed from three elementary schools in Seminole County, Florida, the critically acclaimed graphic novel came under fire in the district’s high schools as well. CBLDF led the defense of the book.
- This One Summer Removed from Seminole County Elementary Schools
- This One Summer Now Challenged in Seminole County High Schools
- CBLDF Leads Fight for This One Summer in Seminole County High Schools
- VICTORY in Florida: This One Summer Unrestricted in Seminole County High Schools
The Glass Castle by Jeanette Walls
In April, CBLDF joined the Kids’ Right to Read Project in urging the West Allegheny, Pennsylvania, school board to implement a clear policy regarding selection of curricular materials. Concerns arose after Jeanette Walls’ memoir The Glass Castle was removed from a ninth-grade reading list last month in the midst of parent complaints about the book’s content.
- CBLDF Signs On to Support Transparency in West Allegheny Curriculum Planning
- West Allegheny Students Petition for Freedom to Read
The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison
In April, we scored a victory for the freedom to read when the school board in Northville, Michigan voted unanimously to keep Toni Morrison’s The Bluest Eye in the curriculum for AP English Literature and Composition. To accommodate parents who had expressed concerns about the book, the board also said students may choose an alternate reading assignment instead.
Looking for Alaska by John Green
In a May victory for the freedom to read, a school district review committee in Marion County, Kentucky voted to keep John Green’s Looking for Alaska in the high school curriculum. The book had been challenged by a parent who also called 12th grade English teacher Emily Veatch “godless” and “shameful” in a letter to the editor of the local newspaper.
- John Green Rallies Fans in Defense of Looking for Alaska Teacher
- CBLDF Joins Coalition Defending Looking for Alaska in Kentucky
- VICTORY in Kentucky: Looking for Alaska Stays in Curriculum
This One Summer by Mariko Tamaki and Jillian Tamaki (Again)
The school board in Henning, Minnesota voted 4-2 to allow Jillian and Mariko Tamaki’s This One Summer back on library shelves at the district’s single K-12 school — with a few conditions. The book must be shelved in a separate section from those for younger readers, the board decided, and even students in grades 10-12 must have signed parental permission to read it.
- This One Summer Banned in Minnesota School
- Henning School Board Restores This One Summer to Library, with Restrictions
TTYL and TTFN by Lauren Myracle
After two parents in Nassau County, Florida, launched a media crusade against a popular series of books by YA author Lauren Myracle in August, CBLDF and other partners in the Kids’ Right to Read Project sent a letter to the principal and members of a review committee at Yulee Middle School, urging them to defend students’ freedom to read and leave the books on library shelves.
- Florida Parents Blame Books for “What’s Wrong with Children Today”
- CBLDF and Partners Defend Myracle Books in Nassau County
Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell, Dope Sick by Walter Dean Myers, and Tyrell by Coe Booth
In a September victory for the freedom to read, a school district review committee in Chesterfield County, Virginia voted to keep three challenged books on middle school library shelves. A small faction of parents had publicly complained at a June school board meeting about Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell, Dope Sick by Walter Dean Myers, and Tyrell by Coe Booth, calling them “pornographic,” “vile,” and “trash.” A state senator had demanded the firing of the educators who had advocated for the reading lists that included the books.
- VA Parent Leads Summer Reading Censorship Campaign
- Virginia Lawmaker Wants Librarians Fired for Summer Reading Lists
- Virginia Lawmaker Demands Warning Labels on Summer Reading Lists
- CBLDF Joins Defense of Freedom to Read in Chesterfield County
- Senator Responds to NCAC Letter Opposed to Chesterfield Censorship
- VICTORY in Chesterfield County: Challenged Books Remain in Middle School Libraries
Beloved by Toni Morrison
In November, just a few months after Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe vetoed a bill that would have required public schools to notify parents of “sexually explicit content” in curricular materials, the proposal has returned in the form of a new draft regulation from the state Department of Education. Last week, CBLDF and our partners in the Kids’ Right to Read Project sent a letter calling attention to this end-run and urging members of the Virginia Board of Education to reject the proposal.
- Virginia House Bill Could Legitimize A Way to Ban Sexually Explicit Content in Schools
- CBLDF Joins Coalition Protesting Virginia Bill that Undermines Education
- Virginia Senate Passes Bill That Undermines Education
- CBLDF Joins Coalition Urging Veto of VA “Sexually Explicit Content” Bill
- Students Join Growing Opposition to VA “Sexually Explicit Content” Bill
- VICTORY in Virginia: Governor Vetoes Classroom Censorship Bill
- CBLDF Joins Protest of Revived Virginia Proposal to Flag ‘Sexually Explicit’ School Books
My World History
In November, CBLDF joined a response to a Sullivan County, Tennessee, parent who wants an entire world history textbook removed from her local school district’s seventh grade curriculum due to what she calls “Islamic indoctrination” in the unit on world religions. CBLDF and its partners in the Kids’ Right to Read Project sent a letter to the superintendent and school board members outlining the First Amendment issues at stake.
- Tennessee Parent Wants World History Textbook Removed Due to Coverage of Islam
- CBLDF Joins Defense of World History Textbook in Tennessee
The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky
After a public meeting attended by over 100 people, Dubuque Community Schools’ review committee unanimously voted to retain The Perks of Being a Wallflower in the curriculum. CBLDF and other members of the Kids’ Right to Read Project this week sent a letterto the Dubuque Community Schools review committee that is tasked with deciding the book’s fate.
- Iowa Parent Wants Perks Removed from Advanced High School Class
- UPDATED: CBLDF Joins Defense of Perks in Dubuque Community Schools
To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee and The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain
Following a welcome decision in December by the school board in Accomack County, Virginia, to restore The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn and To Kill a Mockingbird to school libraries and classrooms after they were challenged by a parent, CBLDF and its partners in the Kids’ Right to Read Project followed up with a letter urging that the district reform its policy to ensure that any future challenged books will remain in circulation while under review.
- CBLDF and Partners Urge Policy Change to Protect Books in Accomack County
- Virginia School Board Votes to Restore Mockingbird and Huckleberry Finn