Florida School District Bans a Book … About Banned Books

‘The overwhelming irony of banning a book about book banning has been enough to keep people from banning it for a little while,’ the author says.

Jefferee Woo/Tampa Bay Times via AP
The Banned Book Library at American Stage at St. Petersburg, Florida, February 18, 2023. Jefferee Woo/Tampa Bay Times via AP

A Florida school district has banned Alan Gratz’s novel “Ban This Book” despite a recommendation to keep it on library shelves.

The decision was made late last month by the Indian River County school board following a complaint by a member of a parents-rights group.

“Ban This Book” tells the story of a fourth-grader’s efforts to reinstate her favorite book in the school library after it was removed by school officials. The novel has now been banned in real life by the Indian River County school board, despite a committee’s recommendation to retain it.

The complaint was filed in February by a parent affiliated with Moms for Liberty, a parents-rights group. The parent alleged that the book contained sexual content and promoted social justice activism. Although the school district’s committee advised against the ban, the school board voted to remove the book from its libraries.

Author Alan Gratz, 52, told The Washington Post that his book, along with some of his other works, has faced challenges before but never on this scale. He learned about the ban from an advocacy group and expressed his irony over the situation.

“The overwhelming irony of banning a book about book banning has been enough to keep people from banning it for a little while,” Mr. Gratz told The Post.

Mr. Gratz wrote “Ban This Book” in 2017 to highlight issues surrounding book challenges. He referenced past objections to the Harry Potter series for witchcraft portrayal and challenges to the Junie B. Jones books over the protagonist’s poor grammar as examples of the types of censorship he aimed to address.

“Nobody has the right to tell you what you can and can’t read, except your parents, and they shouldn’t have the ability to tell other parents what books their kids can and can’t read,” Mr. Gratz told The Post.


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