Author James Patterson: Write to DeSantis after 'absurd' removal of Maximum Ride books

Carol Rose Jodie Wagner
Palm Beach Post
Author James Patters is asking for the public to write Gov. Ron DeSantis after books from his Maximum Ride series were removed from elementary schools in Martin County.
  • Best-selling author James Patterson is known for the Alex Cross, Michael Bennett, Women's Murder Club, Maximum Ride, Daniel X, NYPD Red, Witch & Wizard, series
  • Patterson lives with his family in Palm Beach, Florida

Author James Patterson is asking members of the public to "send a polite note" to Gov. Ron DeSantis after the Martin County School District removed his Maximum Ride series from some school bookshelves.

In a tweet late Monday, Patterson said: "The Maximum Ride series was recently banned by the Martin County Florida School District. Honestly, who would want Maximum Ride banned from schools? On what possible grounds? What do the majority of parents in Martin County think of this arbitrary and borderline absurd decision?"

Patterson's books were among more than 80 book titles removed from the school district's elementary, middle and high schools last month, TCPalm reported on March 7. Authors whose works were banned include Pulitzer Prize winner Toni Morrison and best-selling young-adult novelist Jodi Picoult.

Martin County borders Palm Beach County, where Patterson lives with his family in the town of Palm Beach.

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Jennifer DeShazo, public information director for the Martin County School District, said Wednesday that Patterson’s Maximum Ride series was removed from the district's elementary school libraries after a Feb. 1 reconsideration request.  

That request, submitted by Stuart resident Julie Marshall, asked for all nine books in the series to be removed because she considered them a young-adult series that "does not belong in elementary school libraries," she wrote in her objection form to the school district.

She asked for the books to be placed in "upper-level" school libraries. 

"There are thousands of books to choose from that would be unobjectionable material of equal quality,” Marshall wrote. “However, as I am not a licensed teacher, librarian or media specialist, and have not had the time to consult with one, I will reserve that for them to find. This is something they should have been doing prior to this point in time instead of allowing these types of books into school libraries and forcing the (Florida Department of Education) to make laws and training to teach them what is appropriate for K-12 students. This should be common sense for what is and isn’t age appropriate." 

Marshall, who filed most of the challenges to the Martin County School District's book titles, indicated on her form that she has not "read or viewed" the Maximum Ride series. 

She also indicated that the book series does not have any "serious literary, artistic, political or scientific value for students." 

DeShazo said the books were removed from two elementary schools in Martin County around Feb. 20 and placed in the district’s middle schools. 

“The titles were reconsidered following Florida’s statutorily-prescribed process and moved from elementary libraries to middle school, which is aligned with the recommended reading age of 12+ for the series,” DeShazo said. “(Patterson’s) titles are available to students at the middle school level.” 

Patterson has written more than 200 novels since 1976, including the nine-book Maximum Ride series for young adults.

The science fantasy series, published between 2005 and 2012, centers on the adventures of Maximum "Max" Ride and her family, called the Flock, who are winged human-avian hybrids created at a lab called The School.

Last January, Patterson collaborated with veteran sportswriter and Wellington resident Mike Lupica on "The Horsewoman," a novel about mother-and-daughter equestrians.