The Absurd Books Being Banned at Keller ISD
While Florida has been the center of a lot of attention regarding book banning, the state that is really leading the pack by sheer numbers has been Texas. And just when it seems like they have reached the height of their efforts, a county manages to find an even more absurd list of books to ban for even more absurd reasons.
A Twitter (X) thread by a mother of several students in Keller County Texas recently went viral for highlighting the radical interpretation the county has taken on what books should be banned. And as you may have guessed, it has very little to do with anything that a reasonable person would find inappropriate, and more to do with the politics of the county.
Settle in for more absurdity coming out of @kellerisd: Outrageous complaints received about books on our library preview purchase list. These titles have all been scratched from purchase for further review using our district bookbanning rubric. Here are the laughable complaints/1— Laney Hawes (@LaneyHawes) September 1, 2023
What books are being banned? Let’s take a look at a few.
Little People, Big Dreams by Amanda Gorman was rejected from school libraries because one parent believed it had traces of CRT, or Critical Race Theory, in it. Their reason for the interpretation? It has nothing to do with what they actually read in the book, but rather something the author said about why she wrote it. Gorman discusses how most of the books she had to read in school were written by older, white men. She wanted to write a book that spoke to the experiences of children of color.
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That was far, far too much for the people of Keller County to abide, apparently.
Another book that radical elements thought needed to go? Ironically enough The Controversy Over What Students Read, by Meryl Loonin, which discusses the educational detriment of banning books. Again, nothing that was read in the book was what triggered someone to challenge it. According to the public record on this book, they just did not like the idea of libraries having books about books.
How about The Win Over, by Jennifer Torres? The extremist ideology was on full display in this challenge, as the person who requested it be stripped from shelves did not like the idea of blended families living together. Never mind the book is aimed at helping children understand and normalize blended families, something increasingly common in the American landscape.
It did not stop at current ‘culture war’ trends, however.
An Illustrated Collection of Nordic Animal Tales was deemed unsuitable for children. It seems that references to beer in one story was just too much for one parent to handle. It would be interesting to see how many beer commercials that child has seen on a regular basis: or what that parent’s stance on Bud Light is.
Sisters of the Mist by Marlyn Spaaij was challenged because it is a coming of age story about the start of menstruation: something a parent deemed inappropriate for elementary school and that should only be present in Jr. High or High School. Apparently that parent is unaware that some children begin puberty as early as twelve, and while in elementary school may very much appreciate an opportunity to learn more about what is happening in their bodies.
The list goes on. The original Twitter (X) thread highlighted sixteen books that Keller ISD banned for a decade (that’s right: these books are now banned for TEN YEARS) along with the reasons they were challenged. Each is more absurd than the one before.
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Let’s be clear. Book bans are not about protecting children. The books on this list are almost all written for, and often about, children with similar tone and tenors that help young readers be introduced to bigger ideas. They are not teaching Critical Race Theory, they are not advancing agendas, and they are most certainly not pornography (a common boogeyman of the radical political elements who want books banned).
These are books that are written to help children become gradually more empathetic, aware, and understanding of the world around them.
And to some extreme political ideologies, that represents a threat.