Library Book Review Process

Polk County Public Schools is conducting a review of 16 library books whose content has been formally challenged.

There are allegations that making these books available in the library for student check-out violates two specific state laws (F.S. 847.012 and 847.001, respectively).

The superintendent has temporarily paused making these books available in school libraries while a thorough review takes place, so PCPS staff can be protected from the possibility of potential criminal charges.

It is important to note that these books have not been banned. A final decision has not been made at this time.

Two book review committees will conduct a formal review to recommend whether a book should be retained or removed from the district’s library collection. The meeting schedule is posted below. Meetings will be open to the public. The meetings will be recorded and posted on this webpage for the community to view.

Book Review Committee Meeting Recordings

Library Book Review Committees

PCPS is organizing two committees to review the challenged books. Each committee will be assigned eight books. Members will be provided one to two weeks to read each book after which the committee will meet to discuss the book.

Members consist of:

  • Chief academic officer or district curriculum specialist — (one per committee)
  • Library/media specialist — (two per committee)
  • English language arts teacher — (two per committee)
  • Parent — (three per committee)
  • Florida Association for Media in Education — (one per committee)
  • Child psychology and child development expert — (one per committee)
  • Postsecondary English professor — (one per committee)
  • NAACP — (one per committee)
  • County Citizens Defending Freedom (CCDF) — (one per committee)
  • Equality Florida — (one per committee)
  • Concerned Citizens of Polk — (one per committee)
  • Student Support Services — school psychologist, social worker, or school counselor (two per committee)

In addition, a total of 15 students (grades 11 or 12) will also serve on the committees. Each student will attend a training session as well as one meeting to observe the process. They will be assigned one challenged book to review and participate in one meeting. This will reduce the extensive time commitment that these students will need to invest as part of this community service.

Library Books Under Review

The following books have been identified for review:

  1. Almost Perfect by Brian Katcher
  2. Beloved by Toni Morrison
  3. The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison
  4. Drama by Raina Telgemeier
  5. Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close by Jonathan Foer
  6. George by Alex Gino
  7. I am Jazz by Jessica Herthel & Jazz Jennings
  8. It’s Perfectly Normal by Robbie Harris
  9. The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini
  10. More Happy Than Not by Adam Silvera
  11. Nineteen Minutes by Jodi Picoult
  12. Real Live Boyfriends by E. Lockhart
  13. Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher
  14. Tricks by Ellen Hopkins
  15. Two Boys Kissing by David Levithan
  16. The Vincent Boys by Abbi Glines

Review Committee Results

Book 1: Almost Perfect

  • 3 votes to remove from all libraries
  • 0 votes to keep at ALL school levels
  • 7 votes to keep the book at middle and high school levels
  • 8 votes to keep the book at high school level only

Superintendent’s Recommendation: Retain at high school level

Book 2: Beloved**

  • 1 vote to remove the book from all libraries
  • 0 votes to keep the book at ALL school levels
  • 1 vote to keep the book at middle and high school levels
  • 15 vote to keep the book at high school level only

**One pending ballot has not yet been received.

Superintendent’s Recommendation: Retain at high school level

Book 3: The Bluest Eye

  • 1 vote to remove from all libraries
  • 1 vote to keep the book at ALL school levels
  • 4 votes to keep the book at middle and high school levels
  • 12 votes to keep the book at high school level only

Superintendent’s Recommendation: Retain at high school level

Book 4: Drama

  • 0 votes to remove the book
  • 4 votes to keep the book at ALL school levels
  • 13 votes to keep the book at middle and high school levels
  • 1 vote to keep the book at high school level only

Superintendent’s Recommendation: Retain in middle and high school levels

Book 5: Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close

  • 1 vote to remove the book from all libraries
  • 1 vote to keep the book at ALL school levels
  • 12 vote to keep the book at middle and high school levels
  • 4 vote to keep the book at high school level only

Superintendent’s Recommendation: Retain at high school level

Book 6: George

  •  0 votes to remove the book from all libraries
  • 14 vote to keep the book at ALL school libraries
  •  3 votes to keep the book at middle and high school levels
  •  1 vote to keep the book at high school level only

Superintendent’s Recommendation: Retain at all levels

Book 7: I Am Jazz

  • 2 votes to remove from all libraries
  • 15 votes to keep at ALL school levels
  • 1 vote to keep the book at middle and high school levels
  • 0 votes to keep the book at high school level only

Superintendent’s Recommendation: Retain at elementary level

Book 8: It’s Perfectly Normal

  • 1 vote to remove the book from all libraries
  • 2 votes to keep the book at ALL school levels *
  • 14 votes to keep the book at middle and high school levels**
  • 1 vote to keep the book at high school level only

*Three (3) votes were to keep the book for 4th grade and above. These votes have been tallied as middle and high school levels to better align with school library collections.

**One (1) vote was to keep the book for 8th grade and above. This vote was tallied as high school level only to better align with school library collections.

Superintendent’s Recommendation: Retain at high school level

Book 9: The Kite Runner

  • 2 votes to remove the book from all libraries
  • 1 vote to keep the book at ALL school levels
  • 11 votes to keep the book at middle and high school levels
  • 4 votes to keep the book at high school level only

Superintendent’s Recommendation: Retain in middle and high school levels

Book 10: More Happy Than Not

  • 1 votes to remove from all libraries
  • 1 vote to keep at ALL school levels
  • 8 votes to keep the book at middle and high school levels
  • 8 vote to keep the book at high school level only

Superintendent’s Recommendation: Retain in middle and high school levels

Book 11: Nineteen Minutes

  • 1 vote to remove the book from all libraries
  • 0 votes to keep the book at ALL school levels
  • 2 votes to keep the book at middle and high school levels
  • 14 votes to keep the book at high school level only

Superintendent’s Recommendation: Retain at high school level

Book 12: Real Live Boyfriends

  • 1 vote to remove from all libraries
  • 0 vote to retain at all levels
  • 14 votes to retain in middle and high only
  • 3 votes to retain in high only

Superintendent’s Recommendation: Retain at high school level

Book 13: Thirteen Reasons Why

  • 0 votes to remove from all libraries
  • 1 votes to retain at all levels*
  • 16 votes to retain in middle and high only
  • 1 vote to retain in high only

*Three (3) votes were to retain for 4th grade and above-these votes are tallied as middle and high school only to better align with school library collections.

Superintendent’s Recommendation: Retain in middle and high school levels

Book 14: Tricks

  • 1 vote to remove from all libraries
  • 0 votes to keep the book at ALL school levels
  • 1 vote to keep the book at middle and high school levels
  • 16 votes to keep the book at high school level only

Superintendent’s Recommendation: Retain at high school level

Book 15: Two Boys Kissing

  • 0 votes to remove from all libraries
  • 1 vote to keep at ALL school levels
  • 16 votes to keep the book at middle and high school levels
  • 1 vote to keep the book at high school level only

Superintendent’s Recommendation: Retain in middle and high school levels

Book 16: The Vincent Boys

  • 3 votes to remove the book
  • 0 votes to keep the book at ALL school libraries
  • 2 votes to keep the book at middle and high school levels
  • 13 votes to keep the book at high school level only

Superintendent’s Recommendation: Retain at high school level