Collier, Lee County schools have banned or restricted 42 books

Nikki Ross
Naples Daily News

Dozens of books in the Collier and Lee County public school districts have been challenged by parents or community members since the beginning of the school year.

And 42 books have either been banned or restricted.

Much like districts across Florida, Collier and Lee districts have wildly varying approaches to how they are complying with a Republican-backed law for “curriculum transparency” signed last year by Gov. Ron DeSantis. The law, HB 1467, requires districts to catalog every book on their shelves and put a formal review process in place for complaints.

Collier schools have reviewed 115 books, pulling three from the shelves. In Lee County, 33 books have been challenged, and one book has been pulled from shelves entirely.

More:PEN America report shows Florida has 2nd highest number of school-related book bans

More:Book restrictions: 3 books in Collier Schools now need parental permission for check-out

More:PEN America: Here are the 411 books banned in Florida school libraries and classrooms

While some books made it through the review process unscathed, others are now limited to certain grade levels or need parental permission to check out.

Here are the books that now have restrictions of some kind in Collier and Lee counties:

42 books in Lee and Collier county schools have been banned or restricted.

Lee County School District

Of the 33 books that have been challenged in the Lee County School District, one, "Fly on the Wall" by E. Lockhart, was pulled from all shelves in the district.

And one, "Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian" by Sherman Alexie, requires school and district administrative approval prior to use in the classroom. If approved, teachers also need parent permission before using the book in their lessons.

Books that were challenged but kept in media and instructional materials:

  • "The Bad Guys in the One?!" by Aaron Blabey
  • "Stamped" by Ibram X. Kendi and Jason Reynolds
  • "The Family Book" by Todd Parr
  • "Brave" by Svetlana Chmakova
  • "Killing Mr. Griffin" by Lois Duncan
  • "Being Jazz: My life as a (Transgender) Teen" by Jazz Jennings
  • "Everywhere Babies" by Susan Meyers
  • "And Tango Makes Three" by Justin Richardson
  • "The Hate You Give" by Angie Thomas
  • "From the Desk of Zoe Washington" by Janae Marks

Books that were challenged by parents or community members but were kept in media circulation only:

  • "Dear Martin" by Nic Stone
  • "The Family Fletcher Takes Rock Island" by Dana Alison Levy (can only be used in instruction for grades 4 and above)
  • "This One Summer" by Mariko Tamaki
  • "Dope Sick" by Walter Dean Myers
  • "Worm Loves Worm" by J. J. Austrian

Books that were kept in high school media circulation. These books are on the College Board's list of Advanced Placement assessment material. Teachers of AP classes who want to use these books need parental permission first and parents can request a different book be used.

  • "Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close" by Jonathan Safran Foer
  • "The Kite Runner" by Khaled Hosseini
  • "Beloved" by Toni Morrison
  • "Dreaming in Cuban" by Christina Garcia
  • "The Bluest Eye" by Toni Morrison

Approved for 4th grade and above:

  • "Drama" by Raina Telgemeier

Approved for media circulation for grade 6 and above:

  • "Romiette and Julio" by Sharon M. Draper
  • "George" by Alex Gino

Approved for media circulation for high school only:

  • "Beneath a Meth Moon" by Jaqueline Woodson (book approved for instruction in 9th grade and beyond)
  • "Sloppy Firsts" by Megan McCafferty (book approved for instruction in 9th grade and beyond)
  • "Nineteen Minutes" by Jodi Piccoult (book approved for students in 11th grade and above. Committee recommended requiring parental permission to check out)
  • "Thirteen Reasons Why" by Jay Asher
  • "Almost Perfect" by Brian Katcher
  • "More Happy Than Not" by Adam Silvera
  • "The Truth About Alice" by Jennifer Mathieu
  • "Real Live Boyfriends" by E. Lockhart

Collier County School District

In March 2022, the school district put advisory labels on 115 books in the district in accordance with the Parents' Bill of Rights. In October 2022, the district removed all of the labels after the creation of a board policy that established a process for parents and residents to fill out a book objection form. Those books are then reviewed by the Media Center Book Objection Review Committee.

Three books have been pulled from shelves in the last year. The books were removed for content "inappropriate for the grade level and age group" or they did not suite student needs, according to the district. They are:

  • "Nineteen Minutes" by Jodi Picoult. It was removed from one middle school media center but remains available in high schools with parental permission.
  • "Gender Queer: A Memoir" by Maia Kobabe. It was removed from the last high school media center that had a copy.
  • "Something Happened in Our Town" by Marianne Celano, Maretta Collins and Ann Hazzard. It was removed from two elementary school media centers.

At the start of the school year, students needed parent permission to check out three books. Now, the list has grown to 21 books. They are:

  • "Drama" by Raina Telgemeier
  • "Kite Runner" by Khaled Hosseini
  • "Tricks" by Ellen Hopkins
  • "Almost Perfect" by Brian Katcher
  • "The Truth About Alice" by Jennifer Mathieu
  • "The Vincent Boys" by Abbi Glines
  • "A Court of Mist and Fury" by Sarah J. Maas
  • "The Absolute Diary of a Part-Time Indian" by Sherman Alexie
  • "The God of Small Things" by Arundhati Roy
  • "More Happy Than Not" by Adam Silvera
  • "Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close" by Jonathan Safran Foer
  • "Unravel Me" by Tahereh Mafi
  • "Beloved" by Toni Morrison
  • "Two Boys Kissing" by David Levithan
  • "This One Summer" by Mariko Tamaki
  • "13 Reasons Why" by Jay Asher
  • "Outlander" by Diana Gabaldon
  • "Dead Until Dark" by Charlaine Harris
  • "Sloppy Firsts" by Megan McCafferty
  • "Nineteen Minutes" by Jodi Piccoult
  • "The Bluest Eye" by Toni Morrison