Over 150 books were removed from a large school district in the Orlando, Florida area, including classics such as The Scarlet Letter, Paradise Lost, And The Invisible Manwhile school officials screen materials for sexual content under the state’s restrictive anti-book laws.
According to a teacher who follows the books, which were temporarily withdrawn for review by the Orange County government, titles by Shakespeare were restricted to only 10th through 12th graders, while other popular works such as The fault of our stars, Into the wildAnd Catch-22 blocked for sexual material.
A teacher told The Orlando Sentinel She was “staggered” when she saw Shakespeare’s work A Midsummer Night’s Dream belonged to the restricted works.
She said she selects works to study in class “to motivate my students to offer them literature that makes them think” and that while an accurate version of “adolescents’ experience” in literature is some sexual Topics may contain, but are still valid for them classroom.
“It’s just so frustrating and discouraging,” she said.
State book prohibition laws passed under Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis have left empty shelves across Florida.
“The books are on tables, they’re being bagged up and thrown away,” said Keri Clark, a Florida school librarian The Independent earlier this year. “It’s just a really sad sight. A lot of the kids are looking through the window all the time and it’s just horrible that I can’t let them in and get books.”
The Florida guidelines are part of a nationwide wave of book bans.
During the first half of the 2022-2023 school year, school boards attempted to restrict at least 874 individual book titles. according to PEN America, a nearly 30 percent increase from last year due to book challenges.
According to PEN, most of the book ban attempts have highlighted works by and about people of color and LGBT+ people. At least 30 percent of the titles affected are books about race, racism, or characters of color, and more than a quarter of all titles feature LGBT+ characters or themes.