KATY, Texas – Katy ISD school officials have pulled 19 books from Katy ISD schools so far this year. The latest is Judy Blume’s ‘Are you There God? It’s me, Margaret,’ the coming-of-age book published in 1970.
Retired Katy ISD librarian Lynette Alidon recalls reviewing the book before leaving for the district.
“I just recently re-read it. I was asked to read it last year. I was on the internal review committee,” Alidon said. “I even made a comment to my district supervisor, ‘why are we reviewing this? There’s absolutely nothing wrong with this book.’”
The district’s spokesperson didn’t explain why any of the 19 books were removed from the district. The critically acclaimed Blume book can still be found at secondary schools, not elementary schools.
“I still feel like upper elementary school students should be able to read that because it’s about a life process changing for girls,” Alidon said. “It’s a coming-of-age book for girls, that’s all it is.”
|September 2022||What Girls are Made of|
|January 2023||The Power|
|February 2023||Empire of Storms|
|March 2023||Memoirs of a Geisha|
|April 2023||The Handmaid’s Tale – The Graphic Novel|
|August 2023||Looking for Alaska|
|August 2023||Milk and Honey|
|August 2023||Laura Dean Keeps Breaking Up with Me|
|August 2023||Nine Months, Luciana|
|August 2023||Boy Toy|
|August 2023||No, David!|
|August 2023||The Paper Bag Princess|
|August 2023||Wacky Wednesday|
|August 2023||Take me out of the Bathtub and Other Silly Dilly Songs|
|August 2023||Draw Me a Star|
|September 2023||Are you There God? It’s me, Margaret|
|September 2023||This book is Gay|
Alidon said anytime a book is challenged, someone in the district must read it entirely while completing a checklist of questions:
- Does the library material include “harmful” material as defined by Penal Code 43.24(a)(2)?
- Does the library material include “obscene” material as defined by Penal Code 43.21(a)(1)?
- Does the library material include “sexually explicit” material as defined by Texas Education Code 33.021(a)?
“I feel bad for the students who can’t have access to these books,” Alidon said.
As those books are removed from shelves, Alidon explains $93,000 worth of books remain in boxes.
“Last year one of the last things I did before I retired, I made a purchase for the school that I worked for,” she said. “We follow policy according to the book policy we’re supposed to read at least two positive reviews to make sure the books are age appropriate for the school that we are working at.”
She tells KPRC 2′s Rilwan Balogun the district held a meeting Friday to figure out what to do with the books.
“It’s my understanding the books are now on campuses but they still, my former colleagues, have still not received any direction about what to do with these books. Therefore, the students cannot check out these books,” she said. “The taxpayers should be concerned because that’s a lot of money on books not being used.”