Canyons School District in Sandy, Utah, has ordered librarians to remove several award-winning books from library shelves pending the outcome of challenges filed against them, in direct violation of the district’s own policies.
The removed books include Toni Morrison’s The Bluest Eye, Susan Kuklin’s Beyond Magenta, Tiffany D. Jackson’s Monday’s Not Coming, Ashley Hope Perez’s Out of Darkness, and Sonya Sones’s The Opposite of Innocent.
Canyons District Policy 600.06-4, which was adopted just last year, states: “The material in question will remain in use during the challenge process.”
These books are likely not of interest to every student. But if every library book is required to serve every student, the shelves would be bare. A library, including a school library, is meant to include a broad selection of books that provide value to students. These books do just that. The Opposite of Innocent is by award-winning author Sonya Sones, and The Bluest Eye was the first novel published by Nobel Prize winner Toni Morrison. Beyond Magenta received praise-worthy recognition, including the Lambda Literary’s Lammy for LGBT Children’s/Young Adult Literature; it was also a National Council on Social Studies’ Notable Book and an International Reading Association Notable Book for a Global Society. Monday’s Not Coming was awarded the Coretta Scott King-John Steptoe Award for New Talent.
We ask that the District return all of these books to school libraries until the challenges have been adjudicated, and to instruct all District personnel to comply with District policies in the future.
NCAC, along with the Authors Guild, National Council of Teachers of English, PEN America, PEN America Children’s and Young Adult Books Committee, and the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators, sent a letter to the district asking them to return the books to library shelves until the challenges have been adjudicated and to instruct District personnel to comply with District policies in the future.
Read the full letter to the school district below. Click here for a full screen view: