School Board Bans Ban This Book

Florida board members say it teaches 'rebellion of school board authority'
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 12, 2024 12:53 PM CDT
School Board Bans Ban This Book
The school district has banned more than 140 books.   (Getty Images/Jose Miguel Sanchez)

In a move that author Alan Gratz calls "incredibly ironic," a Florida school board has banned his book Ban This Book. The 2017 book is about a fictional fourth grader who starts a secret library of banned books in her locker after a librarian tells her that her favorite book has been banned. The Indian River County School Board voted 3-2 to ban it, with members accusing it of "teaching rebellion of school board authority," the Tallahassee Democrat reports. School board members also complained that it referred to other books that have been banned from schools. One member called it a "liberal Marxist propaganda piece."

"They banned the book because it talks about the books that they have banned and because it talks about book banning," Gratz says. "It feels like they know exactly what they're doing and they're somewhat ashamed of what they're doing and they don't want a book on the shelves that calls them out." The district's book-review panel had vetted the book and decided to keep it in schools, but the board banned it anyway, the Guardian reports. It joins more than 140 other titles on the district's list of banned books.

The book was challenged by Jennifer Pippin, leader of the local chapter of the Moms for Liberty conservative group, who also challenged all the other books on the district's list. Teri Barenborg, the school board's chair, was one of the two members who voted to keep it, the Democrat reports. "It's a cute little book about a little girl that's trying to defy establishment," she says. "Does she go about it in the right way? No. Does she learn her lesson? Yes." Gratz says the kids in the book were making "good trouble." He says it was set off by the fictional school board in the book, which broke its own rules by removing books outside the normal review process. (More book ban stories.)

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