14 Books CBLDF Defended in 2016

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.

The Glass Castle

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.


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

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.


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.


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.

Eleanor & Park

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.

Beloved Toni Morrison

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.

My World History

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.

The Perks of Being a Wallflower

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. 

To Kill a Mockingbird

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.

We need your help to keep fighting for the right to read in 2017! Help support CBLDF’s important First Amendment work by visiting the Rewards Zonemaking a donation, or becoming a member of CBLDF!