Banned Books Week: Book Censorship in Our Backyard

If you follow local news, you may have caught wind of an attempt by a Virginia Senator to banned select books from Chesterfield County Schools summer reading list. Back in June, Chesterfield County Public School release a recommend list of summer reading titles for middle and high school students.  After the list was published, some parents felt the titles were inappropriate for children and demanded that the books be removed from the schools’ libraries. Leading the charge, Senator Amanda Chase took it a step further by suggesting that librarians be fired for book choices that some may consider questionable.

Chesterfield County Public Schools followed protocol and reviewed the materials in question during the summer.  After temporarily pulling the books and the summer reading list, the school board decided to reinstate both the books and the list in late August with a note  to parents about how they should play a role in determining the appropriateness of reading materials for their children.

There were three books in question, Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell, Dope Sick by Walter Dean Myers, and Tyrell by Coe Booth.  Find more information about these title below:

Eleanor and ParkEleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell


Two misfits.
One extraordinary love.

Eleanor… Red hair, wrong clothes. Standing behind him until he turns his head. Lying beside him until he wakes up. Making everyone else seem drabber and flatter and never good enough…Eleanor.

Park… He knows she’ll love a song before he plays it for her. He laughs at her jokes before she ever gets to the punch line. There’s a place on his chest, just below his throat, that makes her want to keep promises…Park.

Set over the course of one school year, this is the story of two star-crossed sixteen-year-olds—smart enough to know that first love almost never lasts, but brave and desperate enough to try.”

Critical acclaim:

Georgia Peach Book Award (2014), All About Romance (AAR) Annual Reader Poll for Best Young Adult Romance (2014),Odyssey Award for Excellence in Audiobook Production Honor (2014), Michael L. Printz Award Nominee (2014), Pennsylvania Young Readers’ Choice Award for Young Adults (2015)

Dope Sick
Dope Sick by Walter Dean Myers

“You can create something new and change the direction of your life.” Walter Dean Myers on DOPE SICK

A drug deal goes south and a cop has been shot. Lil J’s on the run. And he’s starting to get dope sick. He’d do anything to change the last twenty-four hours, and when he stumbles into an abandoned building, it actually might be possible…

Elements of magical realism intensify this harrowing story about drug use, violence, perceptions of reality, and second chances.

“Drugs, drive-by shootings, gang warfare, wasted lives Myers has written about all these subjects with nuanced understanding and a hard-won, qualified sense of hope.” The New York Times”

TyrellTyrell by Coe Booth


“An astonishing new voice in teen literature, writing what is sure to be one of the most talked-about debuts of the year.

Tyrell is a young, African American teen who can’t get a break. He’s living (for now) with his spaced-out mother and little brother in a homeless shelter. His father’s in jail. His girlfriend supports him, but he doesn’t feel good enough for her – and seems to be always on the verge of doing the wrong thing around her. There’s another girl at the homeless shelter who is also after him, although the desires there are complicated. Tyrell feels he needs to score some money to make things better. Will he end up following in his father’s footsteps?”

Critical acclaim:

Los Angeles Times Book Prize (2006), James Cook Book Award Nominee (2007)

If you are interested in reading more about this local case of book challenges, visit the following links for additional source related to this story.

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