Banning the classics: 50 books Texas parents want removed from school libraries

Banning the classics: 50 books Texas parents want removed from school libraries
Some of the books parents in Texas want to be banned (Amazon)

Books, including one some award-winning ones, have been vanishing from the shelves of Katy Independent School District libraries the past few months. The reason being some Conservative parents in Texas are opposed to the content some school libraries have to offer to students. A group of Conservative parents have formally questioned why books that have to deal with race, sexism, sex, gender and sexuality, are being made available to impressionable school children. 


NBC News sent public records requests to nearly 100 school districts in the Houston, Dallas, San Antonio and Austin regions — a small sampling of the state’s 1,250 public school systems — and found 86 formal requests to remove books from libraries last year. The majority of these requests came in during the final months of the year. One parent in Texas called for a children's biography about former first lady Michelle Obama to be pulled from school libraries, while another wanted 'The Perks of being a Wallflower' removed. Parents of students at the Leander Independent School District in Texas have reportedly drawn attention to 'Lawn Boy', a book they believe is inappropriate for children and has no place in campus libraries Here is a list of 50 books that parents in Texas wanted to ban from school libraries in 2021. 



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'Drama' by Raina Telgemeier

"Drama" by Raina Telgemeier via Scholastic

One particular parent asked administrators at the Spring Branch Independent School District in Houston to remove this graphic novel from since the book features gay and bisexual characters. The parent argued that this might lead students to question their sexual orientation even before they are able to well comprehend what the term means. 


'When Wilma Rudolph Played Basketball' by Mark Weakland 

"When Wilma Rudolph Played Basketball," by Mark Weakland

'When Wilma Rudolph Played Basketball' is a novel about Wilma Rudolph experiencing racism as she grows up in Tennessee in the 1940s. A parent from a Dallas suburb wanted it gone from the library because "it opines prejudice based on race."


'Lawn Boy' by Jonathan Evison

"Lawn Boy," by Jonathan Evison

The coming-of-age novel revolves around a Mexican-American character who, in the course of the book, understands his own sexuality and ethnic identity. A parent demanded it should be banned because it contains "profanity, pornography, gambling, homosexuality." 


'Better Nate Than Ever,' by Tim Federle

"Better Nate Than Ever," by Tim Federle

A parent from Leander, Austin, wanted this book to be removed because the sub-plot features a teenager who starts to explore his sexuality and notices his attraction to other boys. The parent said that they thought books should not discuss sensitive and controversial topics such as gender and sexuality. 


'Five, Six, Seven, Nate!' by Tim Federle

"Five, Six, Seven, Nate!" by Tim Federle

A Leander parent suggested replacing children's books that mention gender identity or sexuality, including this one, with "classics," such as "White Fang," "The Indian in the Cupboard," "The Swiss Family Robinson" and Shakespeare.


'The Bluest Eye' by Toni Morrison

"The Bluest Eye," by Toni Morrison


A parent from Fort Worth, Birdville, wanted the immediate removal of this book by a Nobel Prize winning author because the book contains a graphic description of rape. 


'Out of Darkness' by Ashley Hope Pérez

"Out of Darkness," by Ashley Hope Pérez

A parent from Birdville demanded this book be removed because "it depicts a graphic sexual experience between minors." The book is based on a 1930s East Texas romance between a Mexican American girl and a Black boy. 


'Ghost Boys' by Jewell Parker Rhode

"Ghost Boys," by Jewell Parker Rhode


A Houston parent complained that this book, which is about a Black boy getting killed, might make White children at the Spring Branch Independent School District to “feel ashamed based on color of their skin.”


'l8r, g8r' by Lauren Myracle 

"l8r, g8r," by Lauren Myracle


Told entirely through instant messages among three high school students, this novel has no place in schools, according to a parent in the Dallas suburb of McKinney, because it contains a "description of oral sex with minors," among other sexually explicit passages.


'Me and Earl and the Dying Girl' by Jesse Andrews

"Me and Earl and the Dying Girl," by Jesse Andrews

This book chronicles the relationship between a teenager boy and a girl who suffers from leukemia. A parent from Houston complained that the book contains obscene language and might make students become over-sexualized and objectified. 


'White Bird: A Wonder Story ' by RJ Palacio

"White Bird: A Wonder Story," by R.J. 

This book is based on a Jewish teen living in France after the Nazis seized power. A parent from Spring Branch ISD complained that this book should be banned because it's biased and could skew the mind of a young child. 


'Ground Zero: A Novel of 9/11' by Alan Gratz

12. "Ground Zero: A Novel of 9/11," by Alan Gratz

This novel tells the story of 9/11 and its aftermath from the dueling perspectives of an American boy and an Afghan girl. A parent from Prosper said this book "depicts American soldiers as callous, evil and terrorists" and because the author mentions the racial or ethnic identities of every character.


'Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic' by Alison Bechdel

 "Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic," by Alison Bechdel

A parent in Birdville demanded that this coming-of-age novel about the author's experiences as a lesbian should be banned because it depicts violence in a graphic manner. 


'Jack of Hearts (and Other Parts'  by LC Rosen

"Jack of Hearts (and Other Parts)" by L.C. Rosen


“We cannot unread this type of content and I would like to protect my kids’ hearts and minds from this," a Katy mom said in a school meeting about this novel that talks about a teen gay student who has a lot of sex and is not ashamed of it. 


'City of Thieves' by David Benioff  

"City of Thieves," by David Benioff

A parent from San Antonio wanted to ban this book because it includes “pornographic imagery” that is "not suited for the majority" of readers, the parent wrote, adding, "... unless you're into that." The book is based on the Nazi's seige of Leningrad. 


'Gender Queer' by Maia Kobabe

"Gender Queer," by Maia Kobabe

This illustrated memoir by a nonbinary author, which includes sexually explicit cartoon images, triggered attempted bans — and even threats of criminal charges — in several Texas school districts.


'This One Summer' by Mariko Tamaki

"This One Summer," by Mariko Tamaki

A Birdville mom wanted this book, a graphic novel featuring LGBTQ characters, removed because, she said, it "has a recurring theme of oral sex."


'We Are the Ants' by Shaun David Hutchinson

"We Are the Ants," by Shaun David Hutchinson

A parent from Birdville complained about this novel about a gay teenager. They claimed that the book contains graphic description of masturbation and genitalia. 


 'The Breakaways' by Cathy G Johnson

"The Breakaways," by Cathy G. Johnson

Several parents in Keller and Spring Branch demanded that this book be removed because it features a transgender character and has imagery of children kissing in bed. 


 'All Boys Aren't Blue' by George M Johnson

"All Boys Aren't Blue," by George M. Johnson

This memoir by a queer Black author was flagged by a group of Katy parents because it includes descriptions of molestation and sex between men.


 'The Perks of Being a Wallflower' by Stephen Chbosky

"The Perks of Being a Wallflower," by Stephen Chbosky

A parent in McKinney requested the district to take this novel off the shelves because it includes talk about homosexuality, sexual harassment on dates and masturbation. 


'Michelle Obama: Political Icon' by Heather E Schwartz

"Michelle Obama: Political Icon," by Heather E. Schwartz

A parent from Katy wanted this book gone from the library because according to the parent, 'it unfairly depicts former President Donald Trump as a bully and because Obama's reflections on race gave the impression that "if you sound like a White girl you should be ashamed of yourself." '


'Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You' by Jason Reynolds and Ibram X Kendi

"Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You," by Jason Reynolds and Ibram X. Kendi

This young adult adaptation of "Stamped From the Beginning," Kendi's National Book Award-winning historical examination of racism, was flagged by a parent in Katy. The parent argued that the "is littered with completely fabricated and conspiracy theory views on history" that make it seem as if "all historical events of the past were a result of racism."


'New Kid' by Jerry Craft

. "New Kid," by Jerry Craft

A Katy mom asked to ban this graphic novel about a Black seventh-grader at a mostly White school. She claimed that, because it includes references to microaggressions, the book is "about critical race theory, which is forbidden by Texas law."


'Class Act' by Jerry Craft

"Class Act," by Jerry Craft

A White mom from Katy said that this novel, which is a sequel in a series, claimed it tends to guilt trip children and make them feel like one race is superior than the other, referring to White kids feeling inferior.


'Salvage the Bones' by Jesmyn Ward

"Salvage the Bones," by Jesmyn Ward

In asking to ban this book about the plight of a Black working-class family as they prepare for Hurricane Katrina, a parent in Katy wrote, "I object to the explicit description of the teenage girl having sex with the boys in her social group."


'Woke: A Young Poet's Call to Justice' by Mahogany L. Browne, Elizabeth Acevedo and Olivia Gatwood

"Woke: A Young Poet's Call to Justice," by Mahogany L. Browne, Elizabeth Acevedo and Olivia Gatwood

The collection of poems that discuss various topics like social justice, discrimination, activism, is being objected to by a dad in Grapevine, Dallas because he believed it promotes 'terrorism'. 


'Not My Idea: A Book About Whiteness' by Anastasia Higginbotham

"Not My Idea: A Book About Whiteness," by Anastasia Higginbotham


A parent asked the Eanes Independent School District in Austin to remove this picture book about racial justice, arguing that no books that promote the Black Lives Matter movement should be available to children.


'How to be an Antiracist' by Ibram X Kendi

"How to be an Antiracist," by Ibram X. Kendi

An Eanes parent suggested that this nonfiction novel, which talks about resisting racism, be replaced by copies of the Bible. 


'A Good Kind of Trouble' by Lisa Moore Ramée

"A Good Kind of Trouble," by Lisa Moore Ramée


 This is a novel about a 12-year-old girl who gets involved in the famous Black Lives Matter movement. A parent from Eanes objected saying it might make a white child go through feelings of confusion and distress after reading it. 


'We Rise, We Resist, We Raise Our Voices' by Wade Hudson and Cheryl Willis Hudson

"We Rise, We Resist, We Raise Our Voices," by Wade Hudson and Cheryl Willis Hudson


This illustrated collection of poems and essays about overcoming prejudice and racism shouldn't be allowed in schools, an Eanes parent wrote, because it "promotes discrimination."


'On the Bright Side, I'm Now the Girlfriend of a Sex God' by Louise Rennison

"On the Bright Side, I'm Now the Girlfriend of a Sex God," by Louise Rennison

A Dallas parent argued that this teenage romance novel be replaced with books that have humor but do not promote sexual activity alongside. 


'The Kite Runner' by Khaled Hosseini


This acclaimed novel about an unlikely friendship between a wealthy Afghan boy and the son of his father's servant was flagged by a mom in Birdville who complained that it "depicts the rape and sexual exploitation of minors."

'It's Perfectly Normal,' by Robie H Harris

"It's Perfectly Normal," by Robie H. Harris

This book is an excellent guide to puberty, sex and sexual health and is mostly read by children for educating themselves on such topics. A mom in Birdville was horrified to see her child reading it, claiming that the book was not appropriate for middle schoolers. 

'George' by Alex Gino

"George," by Alex Gino

This book, lauded for its portrayal of a transgender child, is one of the dozens of library books that have been flagged for removal by parents in Keller. 

'What Girls Are Made Of' by Elana K Arnold

"What Girls Are Made Of," by Elana K. Arnold

This novel targeted at young adults, talks about abortions and sex in various ways. Despite being a National Book Award finalist, dozens of parents in Keller have flagged it for removal. 

'I Am Jazz' by Jessica Herthel and Jazz Jennings

"I Am Jazz," by Jessica Herthel and Jazz Jennings

This illustrated children's book about a transgender child — based on the real-life experiences of one of the authors — is being challenged in Keller.

'So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed' by Jon Ronson

"So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed," by Jon Ronson

Once again, Keller parents have pressured the removal of this book that has a bunch of interviews from people who have been shamed on the internet. The book depicts rape, suicide and many other touchy topics for discussion. 

'King and the Dragonflies' by Kacen Callender

"King and the Dragonflies," by Kacen Callender

Winner of the 2020 National Book Award for Young People's Literature, this novel deals with themes such as grief, love, family, friendship, racism and sexuality. Keller parents don't want their children reading it

 'Go With the Flow' by Lily Williams and Karen Schneemann

"Go With the Flow," by Lily Williams and Karen Schneemann

 This book has been praised for the message it conveys among children, that periods are need not be a dirty secret'. Parents in Keller seem to be unhappy want it gone from library shelves for children.

'Last Night at the Telegraph Club' by Malinda Lo

Last Night at the Telegraph Club," by Malinda Lo

Conservative Keller parents have objected to this romance novel set in 1954, that takes place between a Chinese American teen and a White classmate,

'Weird Girl and What's His Name' by Meagan Brothers

"Weird Girl and What's His Name," by Meagan Brothers


Keller parents have an objection to this book that tells the story of a 17-year-old who is beginning to question and explore her sexual orientation. 

'Flamer' by Mike Curato

"Flamer," by Mike Curato

This book is set around a boy who struggles to come to terms and explore his sexuality while he is on a summer camp. Keller's parents are not happy about it and have flagged the book for removal from the school's library. 

 'Milk and Honey' by Rupi Kaur

"Milk and Honey," by Rupi Kaur

This book is a collection of poetry and short prose that depict and discuss violence, abuse, loss, love and feminity. Parents from Keller have yet again objected to what the book has to say and have flagged it. 

'A Court of Mist and Fury' by Sarah J Maas

"47," by Walter Mosley

This is a fantasy novel for young adults and it successfully made it to the list of books that Keller parents are not a fan of. 

 '47' by Walter Mosley 

"47," by Walter Mosley

This is a novel about a young slave boy who is swept up in a struggle for his own liberation. The novel is critically acclaimed but not so much among the parents of Keller who don't find it worthy of the school library.

'Girls Like Us' by Gail Giles

"Girls Like Us," by Gail Giles

Concluding this list of books with yet another novel that parents in Keller demanded the school district to remove since it contains descriptions of sexual assault and abuse. 

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