AMERICAN FORK, Utah – The Alpine School District has made the decision to pull 52 books from their library shelves, citing complaints about titles and contents from parents.
Utah’s largest school district is now at the center of the controversy over the state’s book ban, with some organizations praising the decision and others denouncing it.
The 52 books on a list were published by the organization that included “Out of Darkness” by Ashley Hope Perez, “The Fairer Sex” by Maya Cobabe, “Lawn Boy” by Jonathan Eveson, “This Book is Gay” by Juno Dawson, and “All Boys Are Not Blue” by George M. Johnson, and books are frequently banned in schools across the country.
“Mass removals of books are not supposed to be routine in school libraries,” said Jonathan Friedman, director of freedom of expression and education programs at PEN. “Students are entitled to learn about a variety of human experiences and perspectives these books provide. There are still serious questions about how this decision was reached, and whether state laws were properly enforced.”
“Please email thank you letters to the Alpine School Board for recalling these books!” the group wrote on Facebook.
However, two state library associations, the Utah Education Library and the Media Association and the Utah Library Association, are sounding the alarm on how to implement the move.
“I would say my initial reaction was a bit painful, especially with regards,” said Tricia Fenton, a former UELMA resident. “We don’t want to set this a precedent for every LEA in the state.”
The Alpine School District failed to respond to repeated attempts by FOX 13 News to comment, but the Salt Lake Tribune was able to speak with district spokesperson David Stephenson.
“We didn’t have a book burning or anything else,” Stephenson said. “But we do act proactively with those we have heard about their concerns.”
The two library associations acknowledge that some books should not be in school libraries.
“Because there will be scriptural challenges and this kind of thing will happen,” Bischoff said. “We want age-appropriate materials. This is really important.”
But such is the scrutiny and impulsive nature of books being checked out as the huge volume of work that organizations encounter, and are concerned about not being fully vetted beforehand.
“We do harm to students when we limit [students’] “The ability to handle difficult materials,” Bischoff said.
Complete list of checked out books:
- Twisted by Laurie Hals Anderson
- The Haters – Jesse Andrews
- The Girl by Elana K. Arnold
- Red Hood by Elana K. Arnold
- What Girls Are Made of by Elana K.Arnold
- My Friend Dahmer By Derv Bakdir
- Queer: The Ultimate LGBTQ Guide for Teens by Kathy Pellge and Mark Beschke
- Confession of the Sin Eater by Elsa J. beck
- Forever…Judy Bloom
- Flamer by Mike Corato
- This book is gay Juno Dawson
- The Girl Who Fell From Heaven by Heidi W. Douro
- Born in the Garden by Jonathan Iveson
- Carnival at Bray Jesse Ann Foley
- Rethinking Normal: A Memoir in Transition by Katie Ryan Hill
- Crank by Ellen Hopkins
- Fallout from Ellen Hopkins
- Motivation by Ellen Hopkins
- People Kill People by Eileen Hopkins
- Tilting Ellen Hopkins
- We Are the Ants by Shawn David Hutchinson
- All Boys Are Not Blue by George M. Johnson
- Almost perfect Brian Kutcher
- Milk and honey from Ruby Kor
- Gay by Maya Kobabe
- A Lesson in Revenge by Victoria Lee
- Two Boys Kissing – David Leviathan
- Real direct friends: Yes. Boyfriends, plural. If my life wasn’t complicated, I wouldn’t be Robbie Oliver from E. Lockhart
- Girls to Demons by Amy Lukafix
- Court of Frost and Starlight by Sarah J. Maas
- Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Diamonds
- Silver Flame Court by Sarah J. Diamonds
- Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas
- Court of Wings and Ruin by Sarah J. Diamonds
- The Truth About Alice: A Novel Written by Jennifer Matthew
- Fade By Lisa McMahon
- Shine by Lauren Miracle
- ttfn by Lauren Miracle
- ttyl by Lauren Miracle
- Breathless by Jennifer Niven
- Neanderthals Open the Door to the Universe by Preston Norton
- Out of the Dark by Perez, Ashley Hope
- grl2grl: Nineteen Julie Ann Peters Short Novels
- Jodi Picoult’s The Nowhere Girls Minutes by Amy Reed
- Angus, Thongs, and Full-Frontal Snogging by Louise Renison
- Midnight Lie by Mary Rutkowski
- Pay with sapphire
- The Land of Jesus: A Memoir by Julia Sheris
- Sex: If you’re afraid of the truth don’t read this! by Carl Somer
- The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein
- This Summer by Mariko Tamaki and Gillian Tamaki