A K-8 school in Florida’s Miami-Dade County has prohibited its elementary students from reading several of its library’s books. The banned works include Amanda Gorman’s, “The Hill We Climb.” She performed the widely acclaimed poem at Joe Biden’s presidential inauguration.
The news of the ban comes just as states and counties across the United States have increased the number of books banned or challenged for their content. A parent at the Miami-Dade school challenged five titles alongside Gorman’s poem. The parent claimed that these titles were inappropriate and demanded that they be removed from the school.
An Enduring Pattern
In April, the American Library Association reported that challenges to books doubled in 2022. The ALA’s report states that 2,571 book titles have either been challenged or outrightly banned. This is despite the fact that not many Americans believe in banning books. Several of the books that have been banned or challenged so far have been LGBTQ+ titles or books with race-related themes or written by people of color. Along with Gorman, other prominent Black women writers like Toni Morrison have also had their books banned or challenged. Morrison’s “The Bluest Eye” was one of the most challenged books in 2022.
Gorman, who rose to national prominence after her inauguration performance, shared a statement on Twitter in response to news of this latest ban.
“I’m gutted.” she wrote. “I wrote The Hill We Climb so that all young people could see themselves in a historical moment.”
Gorman went on to add that the ban infringes on children’s rights.
“Robbing children of the chance to find their voices in literature is a violation of their right to free thought and free speech,” Gorman wrote.
The poet went on to highlight that the school confused her for Oprah Winfrey while providing insufficient reasons for banning her work.
“[They] fail to specify what parts of my poetry they object to, refuse to read any reviews, and offer no alternatives,” she tweeted.