Madison County Schools Place 10 Books in Restricted Circulation

The Madison County School Board voted to place 10 books in restricted circulation at its meeting Monday.

The district initially placed the books in restricted circulation in April, meaning students must have parental permission to check out the book, after parents raised concerns at school board meetings and on social media.

A team of educators reviewed the books for “mature content” and recommended that the district return the books to circulation in three ways: full circulation for grades 6-12, full circulation for grades 9-12, and books that will require parental consent to be reviewed in grades 9-12. Full circulation means anyone can check out a book.

The complete circulation books for grades 6-12 are:

– “Coming Together” by Renee Watson

– “The Benefits of Being an Octopus” by Ann Braden

– “Touching the Spirit Bear” by Ben Mikaelsen

– “The Ugly” by Scott Westerfeld

The complete circulation books for grades 9-12 are:

– “All American Boys” by Jason Reynolds and Brendan Kiely

– “Black Friend: On Being a Better White Person” by Frederick Joseph

– “Dear Martin” by Nic Stone

– “Kite Runner” by Khaled Hosseini

– “Love, hate and other filters” by Samira Ahmed

– “Discovering Wes Moore” by Wes Moore

– “Speak” by Laurie Halse Anderson

The restricted circulation books for grades 9-12 are:

– “Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian” by Sherman Alexie

– “American Born Chinese” by Gene Luen Yang

– “Beloved” by Toni Morrison

– “Eleanor and Park” by Rainbow Rowell

– “I’m Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter” by Erika Sánchez

– “Let Me Hear A Rhyme” by Tiffany D. Jackson

– “From the Dark” by Ashley Hope Pérez

– “Queer, There and Everywhere” by Sarah Prager

– “The Bluest Eye” by Toni Morrison

– “The Hate You Give” by Angie Thomas

Tiffany D. Jackson’s “Monday’s Not Coming,” originally on the restricted circulation list, was not discussed at the meeting.

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Author and Mississippi native Angie Thomas, whose book “The Hate U Give” was on the list of books placed in restricted circulation, responded on Twitter in April, saying, “The county I once called home. I couldn’t get out of Mississippi fast enough. My heart goes out to the black and LGBTQIA children in Madison County who are not allowed to read books that showcase their experiences.”

Nationwide, book bans have been on the rise over the past year, reaching a record since the American Library Association began tracking the challenges 20 years ago. The association also said that most of the books questioned were by or about black or LGBT people.

Mississippi libraries have also seen pushback for materials in Ridgelands Y biloxyalthough no library material has yet been removed from the shelves.

Lindsey Beckham, a mother who spoke out against the books at one of the school board meetings and president of the Madison chapter of Moms for Liberty, a national conservative nonprofit organization that advocates for parents’ rights in schools , previously told Mississippi Today that he first became interested in the library’s content as part of his concerns regarding critical race theory.

Critical race theory was a focal point during this spring’s legislative session, when lawmakers passed an anti-CRT bill over objections from all black lawmakers. The Mississippi Department of Education has previously said that the theory is not present in any K-12 curriculum, but is sometimes found in higher education settings.

Beckham, who attended Monday’s meeting, said he was concerned about how some of the books had been classified.

“’The Hate U Give’ is mild compared to some of the ones that are in full circulation,” Beckham said. “Of course, I don’t want any of the 22 books in full circulation. I don’t want to ban or burn a book, but these books are available in our public libraries, on Amazon, or in a bookstore; They are not appropriate for children.”

— Article credit to Julia James from Mississippi today

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