Mat-Su returns some controversial books to school libraries

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After months of review, the Matanuska-Susitna School District’s Library Citizens Advisory Committee has decided that some books that had been recommended to be pulled from middle school and high school libraries can go back on the shelves.

Since August 2023, committee has been reviewing books that were challenged by community members due to their possible inappropriateness for teens.

The books being re-shelved in the MatSu public middle and high schools are:

Book Title:Author:
The Lovely BonesAlice Sebold
Kite RunnerKhaled Hosseini
PersepolisMarjane Satrapi
FlamerMike Curato
SoldPatricia McCormick
Drama Graphic NovelRaina Telgemeier
A Court of Thorns and RosesSarah Maas
Court of Frost and StarlightSarah Maas
Court of Wings RuinSarah Maas
The Perks of Being a WallflowerStephan Chbosky

“With respect to each of the remanded titles above, the School District conducted an internal review and has concluded that none of the works would meet the criminal obscenity standard set forth under Alaska Law. The School District instructed its library staff to return the remanded titles to circulation in both middle schools and high schools,” a memo to parents at one school said.

The books have various passages that are controversial and most of them have been removed from school libraries in other states.

For example, the book, “A Court of Thorns and Roses,” by Sarah Maas, contains sexual descriptions and mild violence, and some argue that this series of novels gets more explicit as it progresses and has domestic violence, emotional, physical, sexual abuse, post traumatic stress, anxiety, depression, graphic violence, and graphic death. In 2023, North Carolina’s library board removed it from the shelves of K-12 libraries because its content is too disturbing for youth.

In the book, “Flamer,” by Mike Curato, there’s a number of LGBTQ+ themes and characters, and the book is sexually explicit at its core, with extensive vulgarity and detailed descriptions of sexual acts. In one section, Curato writs about a scout troop masturbating into a bottle, with one boy daring others to drink the result. But it’s going back on the shelf in MatSu schools.

In “Kite Runner,” a novel by Khaled Hosseini, students as young as the 6th grade will encounter children being raped by older children and adults, and children and women being abused in war-torn Afghanistan. An extremely graphic book, the American Library Association reported that it’s one of the most frequently challenged novels of the 21st century.

The American Civil Liberties Union and Northern Justice Project sued the district in November for removing the books, even though the district had set forth a procedure for review.

Savannah Fletcher, an attorney for the Northern Justice Project and candidate for Alaska Senate, represented the plaintiffs and said the district has no right to remove any books from shelves, even temporarily for review.

Out of 600,000 books, just 56 had been removed for review, but it was enough to draw a lawsuit from the Left.

The original list of the removed books can be found here.  

The Matanuska-Susitna School District’s Library Citizens Advisory Committee meets monthly, with the next meeting on June 13. All meetings are open to the public.

15 COMMENTS

  1. At this point why do libraries exist? They are just defacto homeless shelters where Felix Rivera meets children for his advanced sex ed classes (not hyperbole, he does that).

  2. ‘Kite Runner’ by Khaled Hosseini is an incredible book.

    6th grade is too young though. High school would be fine.

    • I’ve read that book. I found it very disturbing and it does NOT need to be on elementary book shelves for sure. I’m ambivalent about even high school. What is WRONG with people??? Reading about a young boy being raped by grown men…it is SICKENING!

  3. Don’t worry parents.
    The over whelming majority of students in Alaska public schools – NEVER read a book.
    They get all the porn they want from their cell phones.
    The public schools have failed for the majority of students.
    Talk to a local high school kid – ask them basic questions like:
    Who was our first president?
    Is Africa a country or a continent?
    What is 20% of 200?
    Who was the president during the Civil War?
    What is 3 X 25?
    What’s bigger, the Atlantic Ocean or the Pacific ocean?
    These are all questions the majority of 5th graders could answer 40 years ago.
    Now the majority of high schoolers cannot answer these questions.

  4. Their parents are more concerned about the dilemma of choosing between electrocution or dying in the jaws of a shark. At least that’s what their former President wrestles with daily. Hannity already gave us the signal – Donald is not going to debate Smokin Joe in 2 weeks. They know he’ll implode.

  5. Kite Runner is an amazing book. So is its follow-up, 1000 Splendid Suns.

    But neither are appropriate for the average Elementary School student.

  6. Do you have Socrates, Plato, Aristotle, Epictetus, Homer, etc, on your bookshelves?
    Do you have Shakespeare, Edgar Allen Poe, George Orwell?
    These are books that High School students and young adults should have access to?
    Easy pickings when it comes to these men.
    Thank you

  7. Went to a PTA meeting as a parent at a MatSu school about 35 years ago and showed them a book on witchcraft. They took it off the shelf that night.
    Maybe that should be the simple solution today.

  8. Some books that are sexually explicit should not be on book shelves where grade schoolers can get them. Pulling these books from under-age access is not banning them. It is only making them available to those who are old enough for the content. A lawsuit by the left is just so much noise, done to stampede those on the sidelines to vote democrat. Ever notice how these lawsuits appear on election years? When the economy is in the dumpster and the majority of Americans are struggling to pay their bills, this is what the democrats have left to do.

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