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“I hate it that Americans are taught to fear some books and some ideas as though they were diseases…” ― Kurt Vonnegut

There is a troubling trend in the United States: book banning. I know that book banning in its many varied forms exists and continues to exist worldwide. There are places in the world where you can be killed for learning to read. I humbly acknowledge that fact. But as a very privileged American citizen and someone who is slightly obsessed with the written word and sharing it, it is terrifying for me. I cannot take the whole world in and discuss global access to information and how that lifts people up universally. It is too immense a topic for this lowly author to try and comprehend. It is like climate change, there are too many parts to it that it is overwhelming, but we can understand our individual role in it. 

However, I can discuss some of the ramifications of the recent book ban list in Florida and what that means for kids that live there. 84 books were yanked from the shelves of Florida’s Martin County School District. Martin County is a school district north of West Palm Beach, encompassing part of Lake Okeechobee. The school district has 35 schools but is one of many districts. During the 2022-2023 school year, “there has been 566 bans across 21 districts, ranging from the Panhandle to South Florida. (Hernandez, 2023)” 

Regardless of district size, Florida seems to be the “tip of the sword” for book bannings in the United States. It is quickly becoming a place where access to things some might find objectionable is fast disappearing. Even universities are not safe, “Florida governor Ron DeSantis announced plans this week to block state colleges from having programs on diversity, equity and inclusion, and critical race theory in his latest attack on Black and LGBTQ+ people in the public education system.(Guardian 2023)” And, while restricting access to books and access to programs is not the same thing, it is of the same spirit: blocking access to what some may find objectionable. 

All of this, book banning and course/program banning, is possibly pandering to Florida’s sizeable conservative base, many of which are diehard MAGA enthusiasts. DeSantis is expected to announce his presidential bid this spring. “Trump, who is also running for president again in 2024, unveiled his own education plan last week that promises to cut federal funding for any school or program that includes “critical race theory, gender ideology, or other inappropriate racial, sexual, or political content onto our children.” 

Where does this leave the kids of Florida’s schools?

It leaves them with less diversity, less discussion and reflection on past events, and less knowledge about the world and the people that inhabit it. It is one thing for a parent to decide not to allow their child to read a book. That is their right as a parent, but their right stops at their front door. Jodi Picault recently wrote an op-ed about the new ban targeting many of her books. She stated in her op-ed, “My books were removed because they were, according to the sole parent who made the challenge, ‘adult romance that should not be on school shelves.’ It is worth noting I do not write adult romance. The majority of the books that were targeted do not even have a kiss in them. (Picoult, 2023)” Ironically, a parent complained about her novels without ever actually reading them. 

But not all hope is lost. In the face of the bannings, parents and students are fighting back. Students are rallying up and down Florida, and parents of BIPOC and LGBTQIA+ students, are banning together to affect change. As poet Dylan Thomas, who is probably prohibited in Florida, said, “Do not go gentle into that good night…Rage, rage against the dying of the light.” These kids, parents, and educators are raging against the dying educational light. 

Below I have the list of the 84 most recently banned books. Have you read any of them? And if so, how did they affect you as a reader?

  • The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, Sherman Alexie 
  • All American Boys, Jason Reynolds Brendan Kiely
  • Almost Perfect, Brian Katcher
  • America, E.R. Frank
  • The Art of Racing in the Rain, Garth Stein
  • Ask The Passengers, A.S. King
  • Beloved, Toni Morrison
  • The Bluest Eye, Toni Morrison
  • The Breakaways, Cathy G. Johnson
  • The Carnival at the Bray, Jessie Ann Foley
  • Change of Heart, Jodi Picoult 
  • A Court of Mist and Fury, Sarah J Maas
  • A Court of Thorns and Roses, Sarah J Mass 
  • A Court of Wings and Ruin, Sarah J Maas
  • Damsel Elana K Arnold 
  • Drama, Raina Telgemeier
  • Empire of Storms, Sarah J Maas
  • Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, Jonathan Safran Foer
  • Fade #2 (Wake Trilogy), Lisa McMann 
  • The Female of the Species, Mindy McGinnis
  • Forever, Judy Blume
  • The Freedom Writer’s Diary, Erin Gruwell

“There is a loneliness that can be rocked. Arms crossed, knees drawn up, holding, holding on, this motion, unlike a ship's, smooths and contains the rocker. It's an inside kind--wrapped tight like skin. Then there is the loneliness that roams. No rocking can hold it down. It is alive. On its own. A dry and spreading thing that makes the sound of one's own feet going seem to come from a far-off place.”

― Toni Morrison, Beloved
  • Gabi (A Girl in Pieces), Isabel Quintero
  • Ghost Boys, Jewell Parker Rhodes
  • Go Ask Alice, Anonymous
  • Handle with Care, Jodi Picoult
  • The Handmaid’s Tale, Margaret Atwood
  • The Hate U Give, Angie Thomas
  • Heroine, Mindy McGinnis
  • Hopeless, Colleen Hoover
  • House Rules, Jodi Picoult
  • I am Not your (Perfect) Mexican Daughter, Erika Sanchez
  • Juliet Takes A Breath, Gabby Rivera
  • Keeping Faith, Jodi Picoult
  • Kingdom of Ash, Sarah J Maas 
  • The Kite Runner, Khaled Hosseini 
  • L8rG8r, Lauren Myracle 
  • Leaving Time, Jodi Picoult
  • Life is Funny, E.R. Frank
  • Living Dead Girl, Elizabeth Scott 
  • Lone Wolf, Jodi Picoult
  • Looking for Alaska, John Green
  • Losing Hope, Colleen Hoover 
  • The Lovely Bones, Alice Sebold
  • Maximum Ride: Angel, James Patterson
  • Maximum Ride: The Angel Experiment, James Patterson
  • Maximum Ride: Fang, James Patterson
  • Maximum Ride: The Final Warning, James Patterson
  • Maximum Ride: Max, James Patterson
  • Maximum Ride: Maximum Ride Forever, James Patterson
  • Maximum Ride: Nevermore, James Patterson
  • Maximum Ride: Saving the World & Other Extreme, James Patterson
  • Maximum Ride: School’s Out Forever, James Patterson
  • Me and Earl and the Dying Girl, Jesse Andrews
  • Mercy Jodi Picoult
  • Mighty Jack and the Goblin King, Ben Hatke
  • Monday’s Not Coming, Tiffany D. Jackson
  • More Happy Than Not, Adam Silvera
  • My Sister’s Keeper, Jodi Picoult

“Reading would make me brilliant, but writing would make me infinite.”

― Gabby Rivera, Juliet Takes a Breath
  • Nineteen Minutes, Jodi Picoult
  • The Nowhere Girls, Amy Reed
  • The Pact, Jodi Picoult
  • Perfect Match, Jodi Picoult
  • The Perks of Being a Wallflower, Stephen Chbosky
  • Picture Perfect, Jodi Picoult
  • Plain Truth, Jodi Picoult 
  • Ramona Blue, Julie Murphy
  • Salem Falls, Jodi Picoult
  • Second Glance, Jodi Picoult
  • Shine, Lauren Myracle
  • Sing You Home, Jodi Picoult
  • Sold, Patricia McCormick
  • Songs of a Humpback Whale, Jodi Picoult
  • Speak, Laurie Halse Anderson (English copy, graphic novel, Chinese translation, video)
  • Stamped: Racism, Antiracism and You, Jason Reynolds
  • The Storyteller, Jodi Picoult
  • The Tenth Circle, Jodi Picoult
  • Thirteen Reasons Why, Jay Asher
  • Tower of Dawn #6 (Throne of Glass series), Sarah J. Maas
  • The Truth About Alice, Jennifer Mathieu
  • Unravel Me, Tahereh Mafi
  • Vanishing Acts, Jodi Picoult
  • Where I End & You Begin, Preston Norton
  • Wicked: Life & Times of the Wicked Witch of the West, Gregory Maguire 

Tolin, L. (2023, March 14). These books are banned in Martin County, Florida. PEN America. Retrieved March 19, 2023, from 

Picoult, J. (2023, March 13). What Florida doesn’t want you to know about its book bans. The Daily Beast. Retrieved March 19, 2023, from 

Hernandez, S. (2023, February 27). Book bans slowly taking over some Florida schools. ABC Action News Tampa Bay (WFTS). Retrieved March 19, 2023, from 

Guardian News and Media. (2023, February 2). Ron DeSantis announces plan to block DEI programs in State Colleges. The Guardian. Retrieved March 19, 2023, from 


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