Feminist & LGBTQ Graphic Novels Returned To Kansas School Libraries

The Goddard school district of Kansas has reversed a decision that previously saw them remove more than two dozen books from circulation in the district's school libraries, including a number of graphic novels. Julie Cannizzo, assistant superintendent for academic affairs in Goddard, sent an email to principals and librarians last week with the list of 29 books stating "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. 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." And that the district is assembling a committee to "rate the content of the books on the list" and to review the selection process.

More Feminist and LGBTQ Graphic Novels Banned From School Libraries
The One Summer

The graphic novels listed include This One Summer by Mariko Tamaki and Jillian Tamaki, Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic by Alison Bechdel and The Handmaid's Tale: The Graphic Novel by Margaret Atwood and Renee Nault.

A Kansas parent who had objected to language he found offensive in The Hate U Give, a novel about the aftermath of a police officer killing a Black teenager, submitted a list of other books he found questionable, and district officials agreed to halt checkouts and complete a review. "We're not banning these books or anything like that as a district," Cannizzo said. "It was just brought to our attention that that list of books may have content that's unsuitable for children."

As with the Texas challenge list, the Kansas list of books focuses on books by or about people of colour, feminists and feminism and LGBTQ content. The district has now sent a subsequent e-mail to parents detailing the reversal of the decision.

Earlier this fall, the District became aware of a list of 28 books that are being challenged at school districts across the nation.  In September, a parent had questions about language and graphics from a specific book in one of our school libraries that their child had checked out. The parent then followed up with the list of the same 28 books.  The parent met with their building principal. The parent filled out the 'request for review of material' form and met with the assistant superintendent of academic affairs. When this list came to our attention, we checked with multiple school librarians regarding the national push to challenge these books.  On Thursday, November 4th the District decided to put together a committee of librarians and principals to examine the vetting process of materials and review the process in place for parents to access the books that their children are checking out. At that point, the decision was made to hold these books until the committee could begin meeting and collect feedback from all principals and librarians. The committee was set to first meet next Tuesday, but the decision was made to bring all school principals and librarians together today, the afternoon of November 10th.  During the meeting with principals and librarians, the following was determined: Communicate with families that they do have access to the database of books their children have checked out, they can receive notifications when their children check out a book, and that they have online access to the catalog of books available. In addition, parents are encouraged to always contact their building principal or librarian with concerns. Review the annual vetting process of library books.  Not all of the 28 books were in our school libraries. Today, after the review, the recommendation from principals and librarians is to leave all books active and to encourage parents to contact them directly if they have questions about the books being challenged nationally

Here is the list that the Kansas school district acted upon.

  1. "#MurderTrending" by Gretchen McNeil
  2. "All Boys Aren't Blue" by George M. Johnson
  3. "Anger is a Gift" by Mark Oshiro
  4. "Black Girl Unlimited" by Echo Brown
  5. "Blended" by Sharon M. Draper
  6. "Crank" by Ellen Hopkins
  7. "Fences" by August Wilson
  8. "Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic" by Alison Bechdel
  9. "Gender Queer" by Maia Kobabe
  10. "Heavy" by Kiese Laymon
  11. "Lawn Boy" by Jonathan Evison
  12. "Lily and Dunkin" by Donna Gephart
  13. "Living Dead Girl" by Elizabeth Scott
  14. "Monday's Not Coming" by Tiffany D. Jackson
  15. "Out of Darkness" by Ashley Hope Perez
  16. "Satanism" by Tamara L. Roleff
  17. "The 57 Bus: A True Story of Two Teenagers and the Crime that Changed Their Lives" by Dashka Slater
  18. "The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian" by Sherman Alexie
  19. "The Bluest Eye" by Toni Morrison
  20. "The Girl Who Fell From the Sky" by Heidi W. Durrow
  21. "The Handmaid's Tale" by Margaret Atwood
  22. "The Handmaid's Tale: The Graphic Novel" adapted by Renee Nault
  23. "The Hate U Give" by Angie Thomas
  24. "The Perks of Being a Wallflower" by Stephen Chbosky
  25. "The Testaments" by Margaret Atwood
  26. "They Called Themselves the K.K.K.: The Birth of an American Terrorist Group" by Susan Campbell Bertoletti
  27. "This Book is Gay" by James Dawson
  28. "This One Summer" (graphic novel) by Mariko Tamaki and Jillian Tamaki
  29. "Trans Mission: My Quest to a Beard" by Alex Bertie

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About Rich Johnston

Founder of Bleeding Cool. The longest-serving digital news reporter in the world, since 1992. Author of The Flying Friar, Holed Up, The Avengefuls, Doctor Who: Room With A Deja Vu, The Many Murders Of Miss Cranbourne, Chase Variant. Lives in South-West London, works from Blacks on Dean Street, shops at Piranha Comics. Father of two. Political cartoonist.
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