Reviewed school books


Just over 20 books from the Madison County School District’s library collection, including books by Sherman Alexie and Toni Morrison on sexuality, have been placed on restricted use while district officials review submitted challenges. by parents.

Madison County school communications director Gene Wright said about 22 books are under review and have been put on ‘temporary restricted circulation’, meaning students will need consent parental before being able to consult the books.

“We’re constantly adding new titles and dropping others,” Wright said. “The catalog of any library is very rarely static, whether or not there are book challenges.”

She added that a book challenge simply initiates the review process for that particular book.

“Disputed books are still available during this process, there’s just one more step of contacting parents in the payment process,” Wright said. “We partner with parents in countless ways throughout the education of their children, and this is just another extension of that partnership.”

The books on the list are in high school libraries across the district and will be reviewed by a team of educators from across the district. Wright said there’s “no firm timeline at this point” as to when the review team will make its recommendation to the county school board, which operates Madison, Ridgeland and Flora public schools and the unincorporated county of Madison.

“Some of these books may contain content that requires more mature thought to be treated appropriately in the context of literature,” Wright said. “We want to partner with parents in terms of the reading material their students consult.”

Wright said they put the books on the banned parents list in early April after receiving complaints from several parents. She said these books are only a small portion of the 192,000 books available in district libraries.

“Our district values ​​the free exchange of ideas and respects parents’ differing perspectives on what reading material is appropriate for their children,” Wright said.

Lindsey Beckham, parent of a seventh-grader at Germantown Middle School, said parents expressed concern about the books as early as December and submitted the list to the school board in January.

Beckham said she and other parents are advocating for a more rigorous review process for adding new material to school libraries in addition to difficult books that exist in the collection.

Book titles include “The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian” by Sherman Alexie. A video released by parents shows Beckham reading a part to the school board describing the author’s skill in masturbation and another passage detailing a character’s sexual relationship with a tree. The video was released in early April.

She notes that the book is in the Madison Central Library.

Brandi Thompson was one of the parents who shared the video. She noted that curious parents should not watch the video in front of their children.

“Listen to this if you want to hear an excerpt from a book that’s on a book shelf in our schools in Madison,” Thompson’s post reads in part. “I had seen it firsthand but hearing it read aloud in person made me want to hide under my chair.”

Another contested book is “The Kite Runner” by Khaled Hosseini which includes descriptions of sexual assault and other mature themes.

Below are titles that have recently been challenged and are currently restricted:


The bluest eye

Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian

out of darkness

kite runner

All American Boys

chinese born american

Black Friend: On Being a Better White Person

Dear Martin

Discovering Wes Moore

Eleanor and Park

I’m not your perfect Mexican girl

let me hear a rhyme

Love, hate and other filters

Monday does not come

assemble me

Queer, there and everywhere


The benefits of being an octopus

The hate you give

Touch bear spirit


The Madison County School Board members are: Dr. Jason Dean, Bill Grissett, and Sam Kelly, all of Madison, Philip Huskey of Ridgeland, and Dr. Pollia Griffin of Canton. Griffin is the chairman of the board.

The next board meeting is scheduled for Monday, May 9 at 5 p.m. in the MCSD Central Office Conference Room on Highland Colony Parkway in Ridgeland.

Colin L. Johnson