Goddard school district orders 29 books removed from circulation

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A list of books removed from circulation in Goddard school libraries includes novels by Margaret Atwood and Toni Morrison. (Suzanne Perez/KMUW)

GODDARD, Kan. (Kansas News Service) — A Kansas school district has stripped its library shelves of more than two dozen books that have been challenged in other school systems while it reviews them.

KMUW-FM reports that Julie Cannizzo, assistant superintendent for academic affairs in Goddard, said Tuesday that one parent objected to language he found offensive in “The Hate U Give,” a novel about the aftermath of a police officer killing a Black teenager.

The parent then submitted a list of books he questioned, and district officials agreed to halt checkouts and complete a review.

Cannizzo sent an email to principals and librarians last week with the list of 29 books.

“At this time, the district is not in a position to know if the books contained on this list meet our educational goals or not,” Cannizzo wrote in the email. “Additionally, we need to gain a better understanding of the processes utilized to select books for our school libraries.

“For these reasons, please do not allow any of these books to be checked out while we are in the process of gathering more information. If a book on this list is currently checked out, please do (not) allow it to be checked out again once it’s returned.”

Cannizzo said in the email that the district is assembling a committee to “rate the content of the books on the list” and to review the selection process. She did not say how long the process is expected to take.

“We’re not banning these books or anything like that as a district,” she said. “It was just brought to our attention that that list of books may have content that’s unsuitable for children.”

Cannizzo said she plans to meet with school librarians this week. She wouldn’t say when or if the books would return to circulation.

“We haven’t even evaluated these books,” she said. “I couldn’t even tell you what these books have in them or why someone may find them offensive or not.”

Here is the list of books ordered to be removed from circulation in Goddard school libraries:

“#MurderTrending” by Gretchen McNeil

“All Boys Aren’t Blue” by George M. Johnson

“Anger is a Gift” by Mark Oshiro

“Black Girl Unlimited” by Echo Brown

“Blended” by Sharon M. Draper

“Crank” by Ellen Hopkins

“Fences” by August Wilson

“Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic” by Alison Bechdel

“Gender Queer” by Maia Kobabe

“Heavy” by Kiese Laymon

“Lawn Boy” by Jonathan Evison

“Lily and Dunkin” by Donna Gephart

“Living Dead Girl” by Elizabeth Scott

“Monday’s Not Coming” by Tiffany D. Jackson

“Out of Darkness” by Ashley Hope Perez

“Satanism” by Tamara L. Roleff

“The 57 Bus: A True Story of Two Teenagers and the Crime that Changed Their Lives” by Dashka Slater

“The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian” by Sherman Alexie

“The Bluest Eye” by Toni Morrison

“The Girl Who Fell From the Sky” by Heidi W. Durrow

“The Handmaid’s Tale” by Margaret Atwood

“The Handmaid’s Tale: The Graphic Novel” adapted by Renee Nault

“The Hate U Give” by Angie Thomas

“The Perks of Being a Wallflower” by Stephen Chbosky

“The Testaments” by Margaret Atwood

“They Called Themselves the K.K.K.: The Birth of an American Terrorist Group” by Susan Campbell Bertoletti

“This Book is Gay” by James Dawson

“This One Summer” (graphic novel) by Mariko Tamaki and Jillian Tamaki

“Trans Mission: My Quest to a Beard” by Alex Bertie

Suzanne Perez reports on education for KMUW in Wichita and the Kansas News Service. You can follow her on Twitter @SuzPerezICT.

The Kansas News Service is a collaboration of KCUR, Kansas Public Radio, KMUW and High Plains Public Radio focused on health, the social determinants of health and their connection to public policy.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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