Anne Frank's Diary Graphic Novel Removed From Texas Schools
Making the news is that the Keller Independent School District of Texas is removing all books that were challenged last year within the school district. As well as books you might expect like Gender Queer, it now includes the graphic novel adaptation of Anne Frank's Diary Of A Young Girl, and the Bible. In an email sent to The Texas Tribune, Jennifer Price, executive director of Keller ISD's curriculum and instruction wrote to school principals saying "Attached is a list of all books that were challenged last year. By the end of today, I need all books pulled from the library and classrooms. Please collect these books and store them in a location. (book room, office, etc.),"
The list of forty-one titles included The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison, Out of Darkness by Ashley Hope Pérez, Anne Frank's Diary Of A Young Girl: A Graphic Novel, adapted by Ari Folman and David Polonsky, Gender Queer by Maia Kobabe, All Boys Aren't Blue by George M. Johnson, all versions of the Bible and more.
This is despite the Texas school district committee, made up of members of the public, having previously recommended that some of the books such as Anne Frank's Diary remain in student libraries. However, since then that committee met, three new conservative school board members and recipients of a Christian political action committee's donations, were elected to the district's seven-member board of trustees. Patriot Mobile, a Texas-based cellphone company that donates a portion of its customers' phone bills to conservative, Christian causes, made unprecedented donations towards these elections with the company's political action committee, Patriot Mobile Action, raising over half a million for political contributions to Keller and other Tarrant County school board candidates. This also included political consulting firms campaigning against critical race theory, something not taught in any of the school districts, with flyers saying the candidates were "saving America." The campaign against books in school libraries, focusing on Gender Queer, was part of that political campaign.
And have now demanded all forty-one books – including the Bible, be reviewed again by campus staff and librarians to see if they meet a new board policy, based on the Texas Education Agency's model policy released in April after calls from Texan Governor Greg Abbott to come up with a state standard for these procedures.
The new library and educational materials policies were approved unanimously by the Texas board last week. In the public comment portion of the meeting, one speaker reportedly stated "We are very pleased that our new unwoke school board has made these changes. This is just the beginning, I hope.". The new school district term started today.
As to the presence of the Bible on the list, it is believed that this was as a result of a parent who objected to other books being pulled off shelves after complaints and decided to complain about the Bible, to make a point – though they removed their objection. Nevertheless, because it was at one point challenged, it has been steamrollered through to the current shelf removal with the rest of the books.
This just the latest of many such stories in Texas regarding books and graphic novels being pulled from school libraries in the state. Expect many more to come, the CBLDF Jeff Trexler has made the point that the existence of graphic novels in schools especially have been weaponised to get politicians elected.
Here is a list of the books currently pulled off Texas shelves along with the reasons and outcomes at the time. We note that the graphic novel Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic by Alison Bechdel was objected to, despite the book never actually being stocked in the school libraries. And we note that the Jon Ronson book So You're Being Publicly Shamed about cancellation culture… had been previously cancelled.
|Title||Author||Outcome||Date Challenged||Challenger Affiliation|
|Out of Darkness||Ashley Hope Perez||11/19/2021 This decision came after much debate and discussion, and the decision was not unanimous. Because of the violence and difficult imagery in this book, the committee recommends that Out of Darkness be available in high school libraries only and should only be checked out to students with parental consent. The book will not be available on the open shelves with the other books in the library but will be visible within the catalog.||10/14/2021||Community Member|
|The Bluest Eye||Toni Morrison||The book will remain in the current location.||11/4/2021||Parent|
|Afterward||Jennifer Mathieu||The book will remain in the current location.||11/4/2021|
|Panic||Sharon Draper||No longer in the district/campus circulation||11/4/2021||Parent|
|Moxie||Jennifer Mathieu||The decision was unanimous. The book will remain in the current loction.||11/4/2021||Parent|
|All Boys Aren't Blue||George Johnson||The committee agrees that the author meets his goal and, in doing so, meets the specific needs of some of the students in the district. It was noted that students who are not represented in the book also have lessons to learn by better understanding of another's life experiences. The committee unanimously agreed that the book should remain in high school libraries and in classroom libraries at the high school level.||11/4/2021||Parent|
|We Are The Ants||Shaun David Hutchinson||The committee unanimously agreed that this book does not need to be available in middle school libraries. This book will be removed from middle school classroom libraries. This book will remain on the high school library shelf.||11/4/2021||Parent|
|Jack of Hearts (and Other Parts)||L.C. Rosen||No longer in the district/campus circulation||11/4/2021||Parent|
|This one Summer||Mariko Tamaki, Jillian Tamaki||The decision was not unanimous. The book will remain in the campus libraries.||11/4/2021||Parent|
|Weird Girl and What's His Name||Meagan Brothers||The committee unanimously recommended keeping this book in the district high school libraries.||11/4/2021||Parent|
|Infinity Reaper, Infinity Cycle||Adam Silvera||No longer in the district/campus circulation||11/4/2021||Parent|
|More Happy Than Not||Adam Silvera||There was agreement that this would be a book that would not be used in a classroom for instructional purposes but could be kept as an individual reading selection. The committee was unanimous in agreeing that it should be kept at the high school level. The majority of the committee agreed that the book should be available at the middle school level with parent permission.||11/4/2021||Parent|
|Flamer||Mike Curato||Deselected at one campus. 5/5: Committee challenge. Committee considered book and voted to keep in the library.||11/4/2021||Parent|
|George||Alex Gino||The committee unanimously agreed to leave the book in the classroom and campus libraries.||11/4/2021||Parent|
|I Am Jazz||Jazz Jennings||Committee decision was not unanimous but the majority voted to leave the book in the campus library.||11/4/2021||Parent|
|A Court of Mist and Fury||Sarah Maas||This title has been deselected according to our collection development processes and is no longer in any classroom or school libraries.||11/4/2021||Parent|
|Last Night at the Telegraph Club||Malinda Lo||Challenger did not attend the meeting. The committee unanimously agreed to keep the book in its current location.||11/4/2021||Parent|
|Walter Mosley, 47||Walter Mosley||Leave in campus libraries. Remove from classroom libraries||11/4/2021||Parent|
|Me and Earl and the Dying Girl||Jesse Andrews||This decision came after much debate and discussion, and the decision was not unanimous. The book will remain in high school libraries.||11/4/2021||Parent|
|The Breakaways||Cathy G. Johnson||The decision was unanimous. The book will remain in its current location.||11/4/2021||Parent|
|Go With The Flow||Karen Scheemann||The committee agreed to keep the book in its current location.||11/4/2021||Parent|
|L8r, g8r||Lauren Myracle||No longer in the district/campus circulation||11/18/2021|
|Gender Queer||Maia Kobabe||No longer in district/campus circulation|
|The Storm in the Barn||Matt Phelan||The book will remain in its current location.||11/15/2021||Parent|
|Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic||Alison Bechdel||This was never available for student access.||11/14/2021||Community Member|
|King and Dragonflies||Kacen Callender||Remain in current location||11/17/2021||Parent|
|What Girls Are Made Of||Elana K. Arnold||The book will remain in its current location.||11/17/2021||Community Member|
|Girls Like Us||Gail Giles||No longer in middle school classroom libraries||12/2/2021||Parent|
|The Bible (any variation- King James or otherwise)||Men who lived a long time ago- no 1 exact author exist for these books||Parent has withdrawn challenge at this time – 12/6/2021||11/16/2021||Parent|
|So You're Being Publicly Shamed||Jon Ronson||Internally reconsidered according to the selection process. This book has been weeded from the collection and is no longer available for checkout.||12/29/2021||Community Member|
|Milk and Honey||Rupi Kaur||Decision was not unanimous. The book was initially to stay in the current location. Challenger has appealed the initial decision, and the book is being reconsidered.||1/3/2022||Parent|
|Keeping You a Secret||Julie Anne Peters||This title has been deselected according to our collection development processes and is no longer in any classroom or school libraries.||1/13/2022||Parent|
|If You Could Be Mine||Sara Farizan||This title has been deselected according to our collection development processes and is no longer in any school or classroom libraries.||1/14/2022||Parent|
|Tricks||Ellen Hopkins||The book will remain in its current location.||1/18/2022||Parent|
|Anne Frank's Diary (The Graphic Adaption)||Ari Folman / David Polonsky||The book will remain in its current location.||2/9/2022||Parent|
|The Bible (All Versions)||The book will remain in its current location.||2/11/2022||Parent|
|Empire of the Storms||Sara J. Maas||Pending||4/4/2022||Parent|
|A Court of Thorns and Roses||Sara J. Maas||Pending||4/4/2022||Parent|
|Red Hood||Elana Arnold||Pending||4/26/2022||Parent|
|Feral Sins||Internally reconsidered according to the selection process. This book has been weeded from the collection and is no longer available for checkout.||4/27/2022||Parent|
|Lucky||Internally reconsidered according to the selection process. This book has been weeded from the collection and is no longer available for checkout.||4/27/2022||Parent|
|A Court of Frost and Starlight||Sarah J. Maas||Internally reconsidered according to the selection process. This book has been weeded from the collection and is no longer available for checkout.||4/27/2022||Parent|
|A Court of Wings and Ruin||Sarah J. Maas||Internally reconsidered according to the selection process. This book has been weeded from the collection and is no longer available for checkout.||4/24/2022||Parent|