Duval County, Florida, bans 176 books that include Jackie Robinson, Hank Aaron, and others

Sunday kicked off Banned Books week, and we're apparently at a point in guarding curriculum that we're banning books about sports figures too. In a report from Pen.org, Duval County, Florida, has banned 176 books from their schools, including a book about Jackie Robinson, Henry Aaron, Jim Thorpe, and Roberto Clemente on the list.

Why it matters

It always is important to protect children, no doubt. But the question becomes what in these sports stories are we protecting them from?

  • Wouldn't it be good for students to see the heroic efforts of someone like Robinson who broke baseball's color barrier?
  • What about Hank Aaron who was the last Negro League player to play in the MLB?
  • What about the importance of Roberto Clemente to the Hispanic community?
  • Duval County Public Schools did comment that the report “lacks context.”

Types of Books being banned

  1. Children's Books
  2. Picture Books
  3. Non-Fiction Picture Books
  4. Historical Non-Fiction Picture Books

Banned Books about Historical Sports Figures

Duval County Florida banned books list
  1. Henry Aaron's Dream” by Matt Tavares: This children's book tells the story of baseball legend Hank Aaron and his journey to becoming one of the greatest hitters in the game. It highlights his determination and perseverance in the face of adversity, including racism and death threats, as he pursued his dream of breaking Babe Ruth's home run record.
  2. The Hero Two Doors Down: Based on the True Story of Friendship between a Boy and a Baseball Legend” by Sharon Robinson: This book is a memoir about the relationship between the author's father, Jackie Robinson, and a young boy named Steven. The story takes place in the 1950s, during the height of Jackie's career as the first African American to play Major League Baseball. Through their friendship, Steven learns about courage, determination, and the importance of standing up for what's right.
  3. Jim Thorpe, Unstoppable: How Jim Thorpe and the Carlisle Indian School Football Team Defeated Army” by Art Coulson and Nick Hardcastle: This non-fiction book tells the story of Jim Thorpe, a Native American athlete who was one of the greatest all-around athletes of all time. It focuses on his time at the Carlisle Indian School, where he played football and helped lead his team to an upset victory over Army. The book highlights Thorpe's athletic achievements and his impact on football.
  4. Roberto Clemente: Pride of the Pittsburgh Pirates by Jonah Winter and Raúl Colón: This is a picture book biography of Roberto Clemente, one of the greatest baseball players of all time. It covers his life, including his childhood in Puerto Rico, his rise to stardom with the Pittsburgh Pirates, and his philanthropic work in his community. The book emphasizes Clemente's courage, determination, and love for the game of baseball, and shows how he inspired others to be their best selves.

Common Threads in the Duval County Books

  1. Many of the books are children's books that feature diverse characters, cultures, and backgrounds.
  2. There is a focus on storytelling and history, with many books exploring critical historical events and figures.
  3. Many books promote diversity and inclusiveness and help children understand and appreciate different cultures and experiences.
  4. The sports-themed books often highlight the achievements and struggles of athletes who broke barriers and made significant contributions to their sport and society.

Full list of banned books in Duval County:

  • At the Mountain’s Base, by Traci Sorell and Weshoyot Alvitre
  • Before She Was Harriet, by Lesa Cline-Ransome and James E. Ransome
  • Chik Chak Shabbat, by Mara Rockliff and Kyrsten Brooker
  • Cow on the Town: Practicing the Ow Sound, by Isabella Garcia                               
  • Dreamers, by Yuyi Morales                       
  • Dumpling Soup, by Jama Kim Rattigan, and Lillian Hsu-Flanders   
  • Fry Bread: A Native American Family Story, by Kevin Noble Maillard and Juana Martinez-Neal
  • The Gift of Ramadan, by Rabiah York Lumbard and Laura K. Horton
  • Grandfather Tang’s Story, by Ann Tompert and Robert Andrew Parker       
  • Hush! A Thai Lullaby, by Minfong Ho and Holly Meade
  • Islandborn, by Junot Díaz and Leo Espinosa
  • Little Night/Nochecita, by Yuyi Morales                     
  • Looking for Bongo, by Eric Velásquez
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Naomi Shihab Nye, author of The Turtle of Oman
  • Lost and Found Cat : The True Story of Kunkush’s Incredible Journey by Doug Kuntz, Amy Shrodes and Sue  Cornelison
  • Love to Mama: A Tribute To Mothers, by Pat Mora, Paula S. Barragán M.
  • Lubna and Pebble, by Wendy Meddour, Wendy and Daniel Egneus
  • My Two Dads and Me, by Michael Joosten and Izak Zenou     
  • My Two Moms and Me, by Michael Joosten and Izak Zenou       
  • Neither, by Airlie Anderson                                 
  • Never Say a Mean Word Again: A Tale from Medieval Spain, by Jacqueline Jules and Durga Yael Bernhard
  • Nya’s Long Walk: A Step at a Time, by Linda Sue Park and Brian Pinkney
  • On Mother’s Lap, by Ann Herbert  Scott and Glo Coalson   
  • One Green Apple, by Eve Bunting and Ted Lewin     
  • The Rough-Face Girl, by Rafe Martin and David Shannon         
  • Running the Road to ABC, by Denize Lauture                                 
  • Sulwe, by Lupita Nyong’o and Vashti Harrison       
  • Uncle Jed’s Barber Shop, by Margaree King Mitchell and James E. Ransome   
  • Yoko (Yoko Series), Rosemary Wells 
  • Zen Shorts (Zen Series), by Jon J. Muth       
  • 10,000 Dresses, by Rex Ray and Marcus Ewert         
  • 14 Cows for America, by Carmen Agra Deedy, Wilson Kimeli Naiyomah and Thomas Gonzalez
  • Abuela, by Arthur Dorros and Elisa Kleven   
  • All Around Us, by Xelena Gonzalez and Adriana M. Garcia
  • Alma and How She Got Her Name, by Juana Martinez-Neal                       
  • Amina’s Voice (Amina’s Voice Series), by Hena Kahn                   
  • And Still the Turtle Watched, by Sheila MacGill-Callahan and Barry Moser
  • Any Small Goodness: A Novel of the Barrio, by Tony Johnston and Raul Colon    
  • Ashes to Asheville, by Sarah Dooley                         
  • Barbed Wire Baseball: How One Man Brought Hope to the Japanese Internment Camps of WWII, by Marissa Moss and Yuko Marissa Shimizu
  • The Berenstain Bears and the Big Question (The Berenstain Bears Series) by Jan and Stan Berenstain  
“No matter what path I choose, I do know one thing. I will never stop fighting for transgender rights.”
  • The Best Man, by Richard Peck                         
  • Between Us and Abuela: A Family Story from the Border, by Mitali Perkins and Sara Palacios
  • Big Red Lollipop, by Rukhsana Khan and Sophie Blackall          
  • Black Frontiers: A History of African American Heroes in the Old West, by Lillian Schlissel                               
  • The Boy of the Three-Year Nap, by Dianne Snyder and Allen Say       
  • The Bracelet, by Yoshiko Uchida and Joanna Yardley       
  • Brother Eagle, Sister Sky, by Chief Seattle and Susan Jeffers
  • Carter Reads the Newspaper, by Deborah Hopkinson and Don Tate      
  • A Case of Sense, by Songju Ma Daemicke and Shennen Bersani  
  • Celebrating Different Beliefs, by Steffi Cavell-Clarke                        
  • Celia Cruz, Queen of Salsa, by Veronica Chambers and Julie Maren
  • Climbing Lincoln’s Steps: The African American Journey, by Suzanne Slade and Colin Bootman         
  • The Color of My Words, by Lynn Joseph                        
  • Coolies, by Yin and Chris K. Soentpiet
  • Crazy Horse’s Vision, by Joseph Bruchac and S.D.Nelson
  • Dad, Jackie, and Me, by Myron Uhlberg and Colin Bootman     
  • Daddy, Papa, and Me, Lesléa Newman and Carol Thompson       
  • Dash (Dogs of World War II Series), by Kirby Larson                          
  • The Day of Ahmed’s Secret, by Florence Parry Heide, Judith Heide Gilliland, and Ted Lewin      
  • Day of the Dead, by Tony Johnston and Jeanette Winter        
  • A Day’s Work, by Eve  Bunting and Ronald Himler           
  • Dear Juno, by Soyung Pak and Susan Kathleen Hartung 
  • Dim Sum for Everyone! by Grace Lin                     
  • A Dog Named Haku: A Holiday Story from Nepal, by Margarita Engle, Amish Karanjit, Nicole Karanjit, and Ruth Jeyaveeran       
  • The Double Life of Pocahontas, by Jean Fritz                      
  • A Dream Come True: Coming to America from Vietnam-1975, by M. J. Cosson
  • The Drinking Gourd: A Story of the Underground Railroad, by F.N. Monjo and Fred Brenner
  • Drum Dream Girl: How One Girl’s Courage Changed Music, by Margarita Engle and Rafael López
  • Eagle Feather, by Clyde Robert Bulla and Tom Two Arrows      
  • Eagle Song, by Joseph Bruchac and Dan Andreasen         
  • Early Sunday Morning, by Denene Millner and Vanessa Brantley-Newton
  • Encounter, by Brittany Luby and Michaela Goade        
  • Extra Credit, by Andrew Clements, and Mark Elliott   
  • A Family Is a Family Is a Family, by Sara O’Leary and Qin Leng        
  • Fatty Legs: A True Story, by Christy Jordan-Fenton, Margaret Pokiak-Fenton and Liz Amini-Holmes
“I’m the sea, I’m not afraid of the storm. The sea’s dream is always turbulence. If I don’t have waves and storms, I won’t be the sea anymore. I’ll be the pond— and stinking.”
  • Festival of Colors, by Surishtha Sehgal, Kabir Sehgal and Vashti Harrison         
  • The First Strawberries, by Joseph Bruchac and Anna Vojtech
  • The Flag of Childhood: Poems From the Middle East Nye, Naomi Shihab
  • Flying the Dragon, by Natalie Dias Lorenzi
  • Four Feet, Two Sandals, by Karen Lynn Williams, Khadra Mohammed and Doug Chayka
  • Gaby, Lost and Found, by Angela Cervantes                            
  • The Garden of My Imaan, by Farhana Zia                        
  • Going Down Home with Daddy, by Kelly Starling Lyons, and Daniel Minter
  • The Gold-Threaded Dress, by Carolyn Marsden             
  • Gracefully Grayson, by Ami Polonsky                      
  • Grandmama’s Pride, by Becky Birtha                   
  • The Great Migration: Journey to the North, by Eloise Greenfield and Jan Spivey Gilchrist
  • Hachiko: The True Story of a Loyal Dog, by Pamela S. Turner and Yan Nascimbene       
  • A Handful of Stars, by Cynthia Lord                    
  • Henry Aaron’s Dream, by Matt Tavares                  
  • The Hero Two Doors Down: Based on the True Story of Friendship between a Boy and a Baseball Legend, by Sharon Robinson                           
  • Hiawatha and the Peacemaker, by Robbie Robertson, and David Shannon          
  • I am Jazz, by Jazz Jennings, Jessica Herthel and Shelagh McNicholas
  • I See the Sun in Afghanistan, by Dedie King, Judith Inglese and Mohd Vahidi
  • In Our Mothers’ House, by Patricia Polacco                             
  • Indian No More, by Charlene Willing McManis, and Traci Sorell              
  • It Ain’t So Awful, Falafel, by Firoozeh Dumas                            
  • It Began with a Page: How Gyo Fujikawa Drew the Way, by Kyo Maclear and Julie Morstad
  • Ivy Aberdeen’s Letter to the World, by Ashley Herring Blake                        
  • Jasmine Toguchi, Flamingo Keeper (Jasmine Toguchi Series), by Debbi Michiko Florence, and Elizabet Vukovic 
  • Juana & Lucas (Juana and Lucas Series), by Juana Medina                   
  • Julián Is a Mermaid (Julián Series), by Jessica Love                      
  • Knots on a Counting Rope, by Bill Martin Jr., John Archambault and Ted Rand       
  • Lailah’s Lunchbox: A Ramadan Story, by Reem Faruqi and Lea Lyon        
  • The Legend of the Bluebonnet (Legends Series), by Tomie dePaola
  • The Life of Rosa Parks (Famous Lives Series), by Kathleen Connors                        
  • A Little Piece of Ground, by Elizabeth Laird, Sonia Nimr and Bill Neal      
  • A Long Pitch Home, by Natalie Dias Lorenzi                      
  • Lost Boys, by Darcey Rosenblatt                  
  • Lucky Broken Girl, by Ruth Behar                       
  • Make Way for Dyamonde Daniel (Dyamonde Daniel Series), by Nikki Grimes, and R. Gregory Christie   
  • Malala: A Hero for All (Step into Reading Series), by Shana Corey and Elizabeth Sayles        
  • Marisol McDonald Doesn’t Match (Marisol McDonald Series), by Monica Brown and Sara Palacios
  • Memphis, Martin, and the Mountaintop: The Sanitation Strike of 1968, by Alice Faye Duncan, R. Gregory Christie
“only bookworms get excited over other bookworms”
  • The Mighty Miss Malone, by Christopher Paul Curtis                        
  • The Misadventures of the Family Fletcher (Family Fletcher Series), by Dana Alison Levy                    
  • Molly of Denali: Berry Itchy Day, by WGBH Kids                             
  • The Moon Within, by Aida Salazar                     
  • Most Valuable Players (Rip and Red Series), by Phil Bildner and Tim Probert
  • The Mud Pony, by Caron Lee Cohen and Shonto Begay
  • My Mother’s Sari, by Sandhya Rao and Nina Sabnami
  • My Name Is María Isabel, by Alma Flor Ada, Kathryn Dyble Thompson and Ana M. Cerro
  • My Name Is Sally Little Song, by Brenda Woods                              
  • Nadia’s Hands, by Karen English, Jonathan Weiner
  • The Name Jar, by Yangsook Choi                               
  • The Night Diary, by Veera Hiranandani                            
  • Niño Wrestles the World (Niño Series), by Yuyi Morales,            
  • Other Words for Home, by Jasmine Warga                         
  • Pink Is for Boys, by Robb Pearlman and Eda Kaban     
  • Pink! by Lynne Rickards and Margaret Chamberlain
  • Pride: The Story of Harvey Milk and the Rainbow Flag, by Rob Sanders and Steven Salerno          
I woke up several hours later, wondering how I’d been asleep at all when it was so incredibly cold. Then I realized I’d woken because the key was turning in the lock. I didn’t think it was possible to get colder, but a chill shook my already-frozen skin. The dim light coming through the high window shone on the door creeping open. Should I wake the others? I thought of the stories we’d heard of boys taken away and never seen again.
Lost Boys by Darcey Rosenblatt
  • The Princess and the Warrior: A Tale of Two Volcanoes, by Duncan Tonatiuh
  • Proud: Living My American Dream (Young Readers Edition), by Ibtihaj Muhammad                 
  • Radiant Child: The Story of Young Artist Jean-Michel Basquiat, by Javaka Steptoe                      
  • Roberto Clemente: Pride of the Pittsburgh Pirates, by Jonah Winter and Raúl Colón
  • Sadako, by Eleanor Coerr and Ed Young       
  • Sally and The Magical Sneeze, by Simon Taylor and A.D. Lester
  • Sam and the Lucky Money, by Karen Chinn, Ying-Hwa Hu, and Cornelius Van Wright
  • Sam!, by Dani Gabriel and Robert Liu-Trujillo
  • The Shark King, by R. Kikuo Johnson                        
  • Sing a Song: How “Lift Every Voice and Sing” Inspired Generations, by Kelly Starling Lyons and Keith Mallett
  • Soccer Star, by Mina Javaherbin and Renato Alarcao 
  • Soldier for Equality: José de la Luz Sáenz and the Great War, by Duncan Tonatiuh 
  • Sonia Sotomayor (Women Who Broke the Rules Series), by Kathleen Krull and Angela Dominguez    
  • The Sound of Silence, by Katrina Goldsaito and Julia Kuo
  • Starry River of the Sky, by Grace Lin                         
  • Stella Brings the Family, by Miriam B. Schiffer and Holly Clifton-Brown
  • The Stonewall Riots: Coming Out in the Street, by Gayle E. Pitman               
  • Stonewall: A Building. An Uprising. A Revolution, Rob Sanders, by Jamey Christoph
  • A Storm Called Katrina, by Myron Uhlberg and Colin Bootman         
  • A Sweet Smell of Roses, by Angela Johnson and Eric Velásquez           
  • Swimming with Faith: The Missy Franklin Story (ZonderKidz Biography Series), by Natalie Davis Miller                   
  • Thank You, Jackie Robinson, by Barbara Cohen and Richard Cuffari
  • The List of Things That Will Not Change, by Rebecca Stead                     
  • To Night Owl from Dogfish, by Holly Goldberg Sloan and Meg Wolitzer           
  • Thirteen Moons on Turtle’s Back: A Native American Year of Moons, by Joseph Bruchac, Jonathan Locker, Thomas London      
  • This Place Is Not My Home, by Cyn Bermudez                              
  • Thunder Boy Jr., by Sherman Alexie and Yuyi Morales
  • Thunder Rose, by Jerdine Nolen and Kadir Nelson
  • Time to Pray, by Maha Addasi, Ned Gannon, and Nuha Albitar
  • Totem Tale, by Deb Vanasse, Erik Brooks   
  • The Turtle of Oman (The Turtle of Oman Series), by Naomi Shihab Nye and Betsy Peterschmidt   
  • Two Roads, Joseph Bruchac                             
  • Unstoppable: How Jim Thorpe and the Carlisle Indian School Football Team Defeated Army (Encounter: Narrative Nonfiction Picture Books Series), by Art Coulson and Nick Hardcastle         
  • Unusual Chickens for the Exceptional Poultry Farmer (Unusual Chickens Series), by Kelly Jones and Katie Kath    
  • Virgie Goes to School with Us Boys, by Elizabeth Fitzgerald Howard and E.B. Lewis 
  • We Are Grateful: Otsaliheliga Traci  Sorell and Frane Lessac
  • Were I Not a Girl: The Inspiring and True Story of Dr. James Barry, Lisa, Robinson and Lauren Simkin Berke
  • When Aidan Became A Brother, by Kyle Lukoff and Kaylani Juanita         
  • When Angels Sing: The Story of Rock Legend Carlos Santana, by Michael James Mahin and José Ramirez 
  • When Spring Comes to the DMZ, by Uk-Bae Lee                        
  • Who Is the Dalai Lama? (Who was…? Series), by Dana Meachen Rau       
  • Wilma’s Way Home: The Life of Wilma Mankiller, by Doreen Rappaport and Linda Kukuk
  • Winter Candle Frame, by Ashford Jeron and Stacey Schuett     
  • Yang the Third and Her Impossible Family (The Yang Family Series), by Lensey Namioka, Kees de Kiefte
  • Yang the Youngest and his Terrible Ear (The Yang Family Series), by Lensey Namioka   
Clemente! Clemente!/It's us, tu gente!/Clemente! Clemente!/Prince of the baseball diamante!
Roberto Clemente: Pride of the Pittsburgh Pirates, by Jonah Winter and Raúl ColónA

The Bottom line

In America, banned books should never be a thing. Yes, there are educational standards, and yes, we have to be able to educate, not indoctrinate our students, but ban books of baseball heroes of the past. There are bigger fights to fight. Why don't we spend more time educating ourselves and learning how to discuss these types of things before we end up around a huge bonfire celebrating the tyranny of book burning?

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