Stack of books – Courtesy: Shutterstock – Image by jakkaje879
More than 2,500 books have been removed from school shelves in America in the past year as conservative groups coordinate their focus on literature for various reasons, frequently because of racial or gender themes.
In the period from July 2021 to June 2022, PEN America’s Index of School Book Bans records 2,532 instances of specific books being prohibited, along with 1,648 other book titles.
Approximately 41 percent of the banned works featured LGBTQ themes, main characters, or significant supporting characters. Characters of color made up 40 percent of the main or significant secondary characters, while 21 percent of the titles dealt with racial and racist topics.
A total of 22 percent of the prohibited books included explicit material.
Almost every state now has a branch of Moms for Liberty, a Brevard County-based organization that has since gone nationwide and is responsible for most of the bans. In addition to public libraries, these organizations are focusing on school libraries and are pushing for leadership positions in school districts.
Moms for Liberty said it is committed to “unifying, educating and empowering parents to defend their parental rights at all levels of government.”
The group also stated that it is resisting school indoctrination and supporting limited government involvement.
PEN America and other Moms for Liberty detractors charge the organizations with undermining and intimidating educators and other parents by using the term “parents’ rights.”
“While parents and guardians ought to be partners with educators in their children’s education, and need channels for communicating with school administrators, teachers, and librarians, particularly concerning the education of their own children, public schools are by design supposed to rely on the expertise, ethics, and discretion of educational professionals to make decisions,” PEN America said in the report.
A number of regulations passed by the Florida Legislature this year that provide parents more options for removing books they disagree with have inspired groups throughout the Sunshine State. This includes HB 1467, which provides for increased public monitoring of school libraries and instructional materials, HB 7, commonly known as the “Stop WOKE” Act, and the Parental Rights in Education Act, also dubbed by detractors as the “Don’t Say Gay” bill.
In its directory for Florida, PEN America reports 566 bans in 21 districts. Three novels that were prohibited from Seminole County elementary schools this summer are not included in this list.
The lists that follow are a combination of those from PEN America’s index and the 10 Central Florida school districts that provided responses.
|Brevard County (PEN America, School district did not respond)||Jesse Andrews||The Haters||Banned pending investigation|
|Elana K. Arnold||Damsel||Banned pending investigation|
|Infandous||Banned pending investigation|
|Red Hood||Banned pending investigation|
|What Girls Are Made Of||Banned pending investigation|
|Judy Blume||Forever…||Banned pending investigation|
|Stephen Chbosky||The Perks of Being a Wallflower||Banned pending investigation|
|Juno Dawson||This Book is Gay||Banned pending investigation|
|Ellen Hopkins||Crank (Series)||Banned pending investigation|
|People Kill People||Banned pending investigation|
|Tilt||Banned pending investigation|
|Triangles||Banned pending investigation|
|Tricks (Series)||Banned pending investigation|
|Khaled Hosseini||The Kite Runner||Banned pending investigation|
|Tiffany D. Jackson||Monday’s Not Coming||Banned pending investigation|
|George M. Johnson||All Boy’s Aren’t Blue||Banned pending investigation|
|Rupi Kaur||Milk and Honey||Banned pending investigation|
|Caroline Kepnes||You: A Novel of Dark Obsession||Banned pending investigation|
|Maia Kobabe||Gender Queer: A Memoir||Banned pending investigation|
|Malinda Lo||Last Night at the Telegraph Club||Banned pending investigation|
|Sarah Maas||A Court of Frost and Starlight||Banned pending investigation|
|A Court of Mist and Fury||Banned pending investigation|
|A Court of Silver Flames||Banned pending investigation|
|A Court of Thorns and Roses||Banned pending investigation|
|A Court of Wings and Ruin||Banned pending investigation|
|Empire of Storms||Banned pending investigation|
|House of Earth and Blood||Banned pending investigation|
|House of Sky and Breath||Banned pending investigation|
|Patricia McCormick||Sold||Banned pending investigation|
|Lauren Myracle||The Infinite Moment of Us||Banned pending investigation|
|Jennifer Niven||Breathless||Banned pending investigation|
|Ashley Hope Perez||Out of Darkness||Banned pending investigation|
|Amy Reed||Beautiful||Banned pending investigation|
|The Nowhere Girls||Banned pending investigation|
|Sally Rooney||Normal People||Banned pending investigation|
|Sapphire||Push||Banned pending investigation|
|Julia Scheeres||Jesus Land: A Memoir||Banned pending investigation|
|Elizabeth Scott||Living Dead Girl||Banned pending investigation|
|Alice Sebold||Lucky||Banned pending investigation|
|Ciara Smyth||Not My Problem||Banned pending investigation|
|Mariko Tamaki||This One Summer||Banned pending investigation|
|Kurt Vonnegut Jr.||Slaughterhouse-Five||Banned pending investigation|
|Flagler County (School District Response)||George M. Johnson||All Boys Aren’t Blue||Banned from high schools|
|Lake County (School District Response)||Angie Thomas||The Hate U Give||Banned from middle school libraries and classrooms|
|Marion County (School District Response)||None|
|Orange County (PEN America, School District responded saying no books had been pulled during the last 2 years)||Jonathan Evison||Lawn Boy||Banned from libraries|
|Ellen Hopkins||Tricks (Series)||Banned pending investigation|
|George M. Johnson||All Boys Aren’t Blue||Banned pending investigation|
|Maia Kobabe||Gender Queer: A Memoir||Banned in libraries and classrooms|
|Osceola County (School District Response)||Jesse Andrews||Me, Earl and the Dying Girl||Banned in libraries and classrooms|
|John Green||Looking for Alaska||Banned in libraries and classrooms|
|Ashley Hope Perez||Out of Darkness||Banned in libraries and classrooms|
|Ellen Hopkins||Tricks (Series)||Banned in libraries and classrooms|
|George M. Johnson||All Boys Aren’t Blue||Banned in libraries and classrooms|
|Polk County (PEN America, School district did not respond)||Jay Asher||Thirteen Reasons Why||Banned from libraries|
|Jonathan Safran Foer||Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close||Banned from libraries|
|Alex Gino||Melissa (George)||Banned from libraries|
|Abbi Glines||The Vincent Boys (series)||Banned from libraries|
|Robie H. Harris||It’s Perfectly Normal: Changing Bodies, Growing Up, Sex, Gender and Sexual Health||Banned from libraries|
|Ellen Hopkins||Tricks (Series)||Banned from libraries|
|Khaled Hosseini||The Kite Runner||Banned from libraries|
|Jazz Jennings and Jessica Herthel||I Am Jazz||Banned from libraries|
|Brian Katcher||Almost Perfect||Banned from libraries|
|David Levithan||Two Boys Kissing||Banned from libraries|
|E. Lockhart||Real Live Boyfriends: Yes. Boyfriends, Plural.||Banned from libraries|
|Toni Morrison||Beloved||Banned from libraries|
|The Bluest Eye||Banned from libraries|
|Jodi Picoult||Nineteen Minutes||Banned from libraries|
|Adam Silvera||More Happy Than Not||Banned from libraries|
|Raina Telgemeier||Drama: A Graphic Novel||Banned from libraries|
|Seminole County (School District Response)||Marcus Ewert||10,000 Dresses||Banned from elementary schools|
|Jazz Jennings and Jessica Herthel||I Am Jazz||Banned from elementary schools|
|Sarah Hoffman, Ian Hoffman||Jacob’s New Dress||Banned from elementary schools|
|Sumter County (School District Response)||None|
|Volusia County (None listed on PEN America, no school district response)||None|
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Born and raised in South Florida, Krystal is a recent graduate from the University of Miami with professional writing experience at the collegiate and national news outlet levels. She’s a foodie who loves all things travel, the beach, & visiting new places throughout Florida.