This Week in Book Challenges

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Here is an update on the latest book challenges for the week of December 6, 2023.

Beaufort County, SC review concludes of 97-book challenge list with one last book ban
Officials in Beaufort County concluded their material review process with a final book ban this week, removing Beautiful by Amy Reed from shelves. 97 books were challenged and removed from shelves by Superintendent Frank Rodriguez in October 2022. The list was compiled using BookLooks, a prejudiced book-rating site started by a former Moms for Liberty organizer. Hopefully Beaufort will have a break from book challenges for a while, but somehow we doubt it.

Brevard County, FL School District book ban committee considers Sold, others
Over 30 books are on the Brevard County School Board review committee's challenge list. Among them is Sold, a novel by Patricia McCormick about a 13-year-old Nepalese girl sold into sexual slavery and mischaracterized by critics as “pornography.” The board is expected to vote on a recommendation on December 12, 2023.

Catawba County, NC school board bans fantasy novel, first of board member’s 24 challenged book list
Sarah J. Maas’s A Court of Thorns and Roses has been banned by Catawba County Schools high school media centers. A board member challenged 24 titles, of which is the 23rd to be reviewed and the first to be banned. The final book under review will be Jodi Picoult’s Nineteen Minutes.

Hartford, CT sees lawmakers hold librarian listening session about state book challenges
100 books have already been challenged in Connecticut this year, and state lawmakers invited librarians to tell them about the issue and its impact. Other issues relevant to libraries’ protection, like e-book licensing and possible library legislation, were also discussed.

Dallas Center-Grimes Community School District, IA removes 73 books
73 titles were removed from the Dallas Center-Grimes Community School District to comply with Senate File 496, a law recently challenged by two major lawsuits. Included is David Macaulay’s The Way We Work: Getting to Know the Amazing Human Body, an illustrated anatomy book, leaving area kids to learn about the body from hearsay and the internet.

Gainesville, FL district removes Gender Queer, restores it, and removes it again
The Eastside High School library removed Gender Queer by Maia Kobabe from shelves after an Advisory Council vote. Then it was briefly reshelved. Then it was removed again after another parent challenged it, this time ostensibly for good.

Nevada, IA Community School District removes 65 books from libraries to comply with recently challenged state law
Library officials began reviewing titles in August, when Senate File 496 — recently challenged by the ACLU of Iowa, Lambda Legal, Penguin Random House, and others — went into effect. They removed 65 books from circulation as a result, for fear that it violates the law. In a darkly ironic twist, removed books include 1984 and A Brave New World.

Rutherford County, TN library system mulls new restrictions, age-based checkout
Rutherford County officials hope to restrict the library system from using county funds to purchase materials that "may be judged as obscene or patently offensive in accordance with the social morals of the community.” This vague and subjective standard resembles those that have been disproportionately used to restrict LGBTQ+ content in the past, and also follows the city of Murfreesboro’s homophobic “community decency policy” which described homosexuality as an “indecent behavior.” They would also introduce an age-restriction policy for checkouts.

Tulsa, OK school board meeting sees right to read defenders rally to defend Lucky
Alice Sebold’s memoir Lucky, in which the author tells of being raped in college, had more defenders than than challengers at a school board meeting to discuss banning it. One parent put it perfectly: "In a state with the highest rate of domestic violence in the nation and a sexual assault rate that’s 45% higher than the national average, there are going to be students that live this experience and could benefit from seeing themselves represented in literature.”