‘Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret’ and other books removed from Katy ISD schools

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 2022What Girls are Made of
January 2023The Power
February 2023Empire of Storms
March 2023Memoirs of a Geisha
April 2023The Handmaid’s Tale – The Graphic Novel
August 2023Looking for Alaska
August 2023Flamer
August 2023Milk and Honey
August 2023Crank
August 2023Laura Dean Keeps Breaking Up with Me
August 2023Nine Months, Luciana
August 2023Boy Toy
August 2023No, David!
August 2023The Paper Bag Princess
August 2023Wacky Wednesday
August 2023Take me out of the Bathtub and Other Silly Dilly Songs
August 2023Draw Me a Star
September 2023Are you There God? It’s me, Margaret
September 2023This 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.”

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