Columbia HS library

Books line the shelves in the Columbia High School library in Nampa on Tuesday.

The Nampa School Board voted Monday night to remove 22 books permanently from the district’s libraries.

The 22 challenged books were brought to the attention of the district and board for allegedly containing “pornography,” according to a board meeting document.

Committees composed of staff and parents were in the process of conducting a review of the books in question, but the vote effectively ends that. However, trustees expressed interest in crafting a formal process for reviewing challenged books in the future.

During a January school board meeting, a parent raised concerns during public comment about a book, said Kathleen Tuck, communications director for the district. Books that parents or community members bring to the attention of the board for allegedly questionable content are known as “challenged books.” Subsequently, the board received emails from other parents questioning the sexual content and suitability of additional books available in the district’s libraries, bringing the total to 22 titles. (The list is 24 books long, but one book was removed from library shelves prior to being challenged, while another is in the list twice.)

The books that will be permanently removed are “Kite Runner,” by Khaled Hosseini; “Leah on the Offbeat,” by Becky Albertalli; “The Prince and the Dressmaker,” by Jen Wang; “Thirteen Reasons Why,” by Jay Asher; “The 57 Bus,” by Dashka Slater; “Drama,” by Raina Telgemeier; “Looking for Alaska,” by John Green; “The Bluest Eye,” by Toni Morrison; “The Handmaid’s Tale,” by Margaret Atwood; “l8r, g8r,” by Lauren Myracle; “Out of Darkness,” by Ashley Hope Perez; “The Perks of Being a Wallflower,” by Stephen Chbosky; “Crank,” by Ellen Hopkins; “The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-time Indian;” by Sherman Alexie; “City of Heavenly Fire,” by Cassandra Clare; “Clockwork Princess,” by Cassanrda Clare; “Eleanor and Park,” by Rainbow Rowell; “Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close,” by Jonathan Safran Foer; “Sold,” by Patricia McCormick; “Speak,” by Laurie Halse Anderson; “33 Snowfish,” by Adam Rapp; and “It’s Perfectly Normal: Changing Bodies, Growing Up, Sex, and Sexual Health,” by Robie H. Harris.

Board Chair Jeff Kirkman, Vice Chair Tracey Pearson, and Trustee Marco Valle all voted in favor of removing the books “forever,” with Trustee Brook Taylor and Trustee Mandy Simpson voting against.

“I just have a hard time with ‘forever’ when a process hasn’t been completed to actually analyze and look through things,” Simpson said, adding that she is not opposed to books being taken off the shelves while they are under review.

You can read Rusby's full story here at idahopress.com (subscription required), or pick up today's Idaho Press; it's on the front page.

Betsy Z. Russell is the Boise bureau chief and state capitol reporter for the Idaho Press and Adams Publishing Group. Follow her on Twitter at @BetsyZRussell.

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