The Madison County School Board voted to place ten books in restricted circulation at their meeting Monday.
The district initially placed the books in restricted circulation in April, meaning students must have parental permission to check out the book, after parents voiced their concern at school board meetings and on social media.
A team of educators reviewed the books for “mature content” and recommended that the district return the books to circulation in three ways: full circulation for grades 6-12, full circulation for grades 9-12, and books that will require parental consent to be checked out in grades 9-12. Full circulation means anyone can check out a book.
Books in full circulation for grades 6-12 are:
- “Piecing Me Together” by Renee Watson
- “The Benefits of Being an Octopus” by Ann Braden
- “Touching Spirit Bear” by Ben Mikaelsen
- “Uglies” by Scott Westerfeld
Books in full circulation for grades 9-12 are:
- “All American Boys” by Jason Reynolds and Brendan Kiely
- “Black Friend: On Being a Better White Person” by Frederick Joseph
- “Dear Martin” by Nic Stone
- “Kite Runner” by Khaled Hosseini
- “Love, Hate, and Other Filters” by Samira Ahmed
- “Discovering Wes Moore” by Wes Moore
- “Speak” by Laurie Halse Anderson
Books in restricted circulation for grades 9-12 are:
- “Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian” by Sherman Alexie
- “American Born Chinese” by Gene Luen Yang
- “Beloved” by Toni Morrison
- “Eleanor and Park” by Rainbow Rowell
- “I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter” by Erika Sánchez
- “Let Me Hear a Rhyme” by Tiffany D. Jackson
- “Out of Darkness” by Ashley Hope Pérez
- “Queer, There, & Everywhere” by Sarah Prager
- “The Bluest Eye” by Toni Morrison
- “The Hate U Give” by Angie Thomas
“Monday’s Not Coming” by Tiffany D. Jackson, originally on the list of books in restricted circulation, was not addressed at the meeting.
Mississippi native and author Angie Thomas, whose book “The Hate U Give” was on the list of books placed in restricted circulation, responded on Twitter in April, saying “The county I once called home. I couldn’t leave Mississippi fast enough. My heart goes out to the Black and LGBTQIA kids in Madison county who aren’t being allowed to read books that show their experiences.”
Nationally, book bannings have been on the rise over the last year, hitting a record high since the American Library Association started tracking the challenges 20 years ago. The association also said that the majority of challenged books were by or about Black or LGBT individuals.
Mississippi libraries have also seen pushback over materials in Ridgeland and Biloxi, though no library materials have been removed from the shelves yet.
Lindsey Beckham, a parent who spoke against the books at one of the school board meetings and the chair of the Madison chapter of Moms for Liberty, a national conservative nonprofit that advocates for parental rights in schools, previously told Mississippi Today that she first became interested in the library content as part of her concerns regarding critical race theory.
Critical race theory was a focal point during the legislative session this spring, with legislators passing an anti-CRT bill over the objections of ever Black lawmaker. The Mississippi Department of Education has previously said that the theory is not present in any K-12 curriculum, but it is sometimes found in higher education settings.
Beckham, who was in attendance at Monday’s meeting, said she was concerned about how some of the books had been sorted.
“‘The Hate U Give’ is mild compared to some of the ones that are in full circulation,” Beckham said. “Of course, I don’t want any of the 22 books in full circulation. I don’t want to ban or burn a book, but these books are available at our public libraries, on Amazon, or at a book store — they’re not appropriate for children.”
-- Article credit to Julia James of Mississippi Today --