Community stands up to censorship
The community fights back for intellectual freedom
On Oct. 26, hundreds of community members turned out at the board meeting to support students' right to read and oppose the calls for book banning.
The board reported that a Reconsideration Committee has been formed to evaluate the five books that have been challenged thus far (Gender Queer, Lawn Boy, Fun Home, This Book is Gay, All Boys Aren't Blue), but that no decisions have been made.
The recording of the meeting is available on the BOE Agendas, Minutes & Recordings page. Public comments begin at the 33-minute mark.
More books attacked
In the days following the Sept. 28 board meeting, book banners submitted formal challenges to Gender Queer and Lawn Boy, followed by challenges to three additional titles:
Fun Home by Alison Bechdel, a memoir in graphic novel form in which Bechdel recalls her childhood and her emerging understanding of her sexuality and that of her father. Booklist called Fun Home "one of the very best graphic novels ever." The New York Times placed the book as #3 on its list of the “50 Best Memoirs of the Past 50 Years.” District administrators attempted to ban Fun Home in 2019; vigilant community members blocked the ban and kept the book in the school libraries.
This Book is Gay by Juno Dawson, a handbook on the LGBTQ+ experience that includes information on dating, bullying, coming out, safe sex, STDs, homophobia, and self-esteem. Recommending the book for grades 10 and up, School Library Journal said, "This witty, no-holds-barred look at the LGBTQ experience provides information that parents or school friends often can’t or won’t give." And Senior High School Core Collection, a selective list of books recommended for grades 9-12, rated it as Essential for high schools.
All Boys Aren't Blue by George M. Johnson is a memoir in which LGBTQ+ journalist Johnson explores his childhood, adolescence, and college years in New Jersey and Virginia. It covers topics such as gender identity, toxic masculinity, brotherhood, family, consent, and Black joy. In its starred review, Kirkus described All Boys Aren't Blue as "a critical, captivating, merciful mirror for growing up black and queer today" and recommended it for ages 14-adult.