One of our most cherished rights in the U.S. is the freedom to read — but sometimes we need to remind government authorities that we have that right. Here are a few books that CBLDF has helped defend so far this year…
Stuck in the Middle, edited by Ariel Schrag
CBLDF took the lead in defending Ariel Schrag’s Stuck in the Middle, a comics anthology that was challenged in an Oklahoma school library. Per district policy, the book was pulled from Del Crest Middle School library for review after a small number of parents challenged language and adult themes in the graphic novel. CBLDF learned of the challenge due to egregiously biased news reports from local news affiliates, which misrepresented the graphic novel, contained misinformation, and included biased Amazon reviews as justification for banning the book.
- EXCLUSIVE: Ariel Schrag on Stuck in the Middle Challenge
- CBLDF Leads Defense of Stuck in the Middle
- Stuck in the Middle Challenged in Oklahoma School
Sword Art Online 1: Aincrad by Reki Kawahara and abec
CBLDF took the lead in defending the manga volume Sword Art Online 1: Aincrad after it was challenged at a middle school in Jerome, Idaho. It was challenged by a Jerome Middle School teacher on behalf of a student who found both language and drawings in the book to be “inappropriate.” The images that perturbed the student were apparently “a female character wearing underwear and sharing a bed with a male character.”
Mangaman by Barry Lyga and Colleen Doran
One of the more memorable book challenges that we covered in late 2016 came when the mother of a high school student in Issaquah, Washington pushed to have the graphic novel Mangaman removed from Issaquah High School’s library due to one panel showing pixelated genitals. In February, we learned that the book was retained after passing through a review committee, public forum, and the school board.
The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie
Allexie’s award-winning YA novel hasn’t just been challenged once this year — it’s been challenged several times, in Thousand Oaks, California; Prairie du Sac, Wisconsin; and New London-Spicer, Minnesota. The book has been challenged for profanity and sexual content (and some people seem to think that Alexie’s frequent appearance on ALA’s annual most-challenged list justifies their attempts to ban the book). So far, most of our efforts have been successful in keeping the book in classrooms and libraries.
- Conejo Valley Board Leaves Part-Time Indianin Limbo for Upcoming School Year
- CBLDF Joins Effort to Unblock Approval of Part-Time Indian in California School District
- VICTORY: Minnesota School Board Stands by Alexie Book
- Minnesota Principal Defends Absolutely True Diary from Challenge
- Alexie Challenged Again, This Time in Minnesota
- VICTORY: WI Superintendent Stands By The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian
- CBLDF Signs on to Defend Part-Time Indian in Wisconsin School District
- Wisconsinites Pack Board Meeting for Debate Over Absolutely True Diary
- Part-Time Indian Survives Wisconsin Challenge
Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher
The runaway success of Netflix’s 13 Reasons Why series has put the book on which it was based in the crosshairs at schools around the country. The Netflix show adapts Asher’s tale about teenage depression and suicide in a far less nuanced way, but school administrators have failed to recognize this in misguided attempts to ban the book even from personal, non-school-related reading. The book has been scrutinized or banned from schools in Kentucky, Florida, and Colorado
- Kentucky School District Pulls Thirteen Reasons Why from Middle School Curriculum
- Thirteen Reasons Why Author Cites Reader Experiences to Fight Censorship
- CBLDF Joins Defense of Thirteen Reasons Why in Florida School
- ALA Director Condemns Recent Rash of Attacks on Thirteen Reasons Why
- Thirteen Reasons Why TV Series Leads to Sudden Scrutiny of Popular Novel
Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell
Rainbow Rowell’s Eleanor & Park was removed from classrooms in Vinton County High School in Ohio after complaints over “foul language.” A parent posted out-of-context excerpts of the book online before filing a formal complaint. The administration does not appear to have a challenge policy and responded by replacing Eleanor & Park with another novel. The book was also challenged in an Oregon school district.
- CBLDF Joins Defense of Eleanor & Park
- CBLDF Joins Coalition Urging Return of Eleanor & Park to Oregon School District
- Oregon School Board Reconsiders Hasty Ban of Eleanor & Park
The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini
Khaled Hosseini’s The Kite Runner was abruptly removed from the curriculum of Higley Unified School District in Gilbert, Arizona. Although students in Honors English 10 have read the book for several years, administrators allege that it was never officially approved for use.
- CBLDF Joins Defense of The Kite Runner in Arizona
- Arizona School District Pulls Kite Runner from Curriculum Mid-School Year
Jacob’s New Dress by Sarah and Ian Hoffman
Sarah and Ian Hoffman’s Jacob’s New Dress was removed from a first grade anti-bullying program in Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools, North Carolina. The school district reversed course on a plan to have all first graders read the picture book, which centers on a gender-nonconforming boy who wants to wear a dress to school, under pressure from North Carolina state legislators.
- CBLDF Joins Defense of Jacob’s New Dress
- NC School District Pulls Jacob’s New Dress from Curriculum After Legislator Complaints
The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls
A parent in Marshfield, Wisconsin, initially complained of “foul language and explicit and disturbing materials” in Jeannette Walls’ memoir The Glass Castle at a school board meeting, but did not file a formal challenge; instead, a board member who previously challenged a UNICEF children’s picture book filed the challenge against Walls’ book.
- VICTORY in Wisconsin: The Glass CastleRemains in High School Curriculum
- CBLDF Joins Defense of The Glass Castle
- Wisconsin Parent Wants The Glass Castle Out of Curriculum