Missouri school board has banned four books, including Toni Morrison’s The bluest eyeof high school libraries in the district, the St. Louis after shipment reports†
The Wentzville school board voted 4-3 to remove the Nobel laureate’s debut novel from library shelves, after challenges from parents. The television station Fox 2 reports that the board also voted to ban three memoirs: that of George M. Johnson All boys are not blueChoose Laymon’s heavyand Alison Bechdel’s nice house†
“At least go and buy the book for your kid,” board member Sandy Garber said of: The bluest eye† “I wouldn’t want this book in school for someone else to see.”
The bluest eyeFirst published in 1970, it has been the target of various challenges and bans over the years, most recently in Northville, Michigan† Buncombe County, North Carolina† and Colton, California† The novel made the American Library Association’s top 10 list of the most challenged books of the year in 2006, 2013, 2014 and 2020.
The other three books removed by the board have also seen their share of the ban. All boys are not blue has been taken from library shelves in multiple states, and heavya Kirkus Prize finalist in 2018, was recently forbidden by a Kansas school district. nice house has been a frequent target of censors; it made the ALA’s top 10 banned books list in 2015.
Kris Kleindienst, co-owner of Left Bank Books in St. Louis, near Wentzville, told Fox 2 that a handful of parents shouldn’t have the authority to ban books from school libraries.
†The bluest eye…is a very moving story, and [a] heartbreaking, about a young girl confronting her blackness in a world that hates black people, and also faces serious issues such as sexual abuse,” Kleindienst said. “To ban such a book means, ‘Let’s sweep all this discussion under the rug.'”
Michael Schaub is a Texas-based journalist and a regular contributor to NPR.