Amanda Gorman, who performed a poem at President Biden’s inauguration, was “gutted” to find that a Florida school had banned it because of the current surge of book challenges. The district denied banning or removing the book but admitted it had been relocated so that elementary school pupils had less access to it.
On Tuesday, the youngest inaugural poet in U.S. history spoke out about the increasing restrictions placed on books like hers, “The Hill We Climb,” which consists of a single 32-page poem. We have to take a stand,” she declared.
Gorman responded to the complaint that challenged her book on Twitter, writing, “So they ban my book from young readers, confuse me with [Oprah Winfrey], fail to specify what parts of my poetry they object to, refuse to read any reviews, and offer no alternatives.” When contacted through her spokesman, Gorman declined to respond.
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Was ‘The Hill We Climb’ banned from a Florida school?
The uproar over this book’s relocation fueled the argument concerning challenges to library books. According to minutes from a school review committee meeting seen by The Washington Post, the Bob Graham Education Center in Miami Lakes, which serves kindergarten through eighth-grade students, restricted access to Gorman’s book following a complaint from a parent.
Due to its “educational value because of its historical significance,” the committee decided this book was appropriate for sixth through eighth graders; they cited Gorman’s recitation of the poem at President Biden’s inauguration as evidence. Although the committee’s decision was not explained in the meeting minutes, they revealed that it was made in early April and involved restricting access for primary school pupils.
The institution claims that its action does not amount to a book ban:
In order to ensure accurate information, @MDCPS is compelled to clarify that the book titled, “The Hill We Climb” by @TheAmandaGorman was never banned or removed from one of our schools. The book is available in the media center as part of the middle grades collection.
— Miami-Dade Schools (@MDCPS) May 24, 2023
Ana Rhodes, a spokeswoman for Miami-Dade County Public Schools, said the book was relocated from the elementary to the middle school part of the library’s media centre. A kid in elementary school would have to prove to the media specialist that they can read at the fifth-grade level, at which the book is written.
If the pupil doesn’t have permission to read the book, they can’t read it. Gorman insisted that it was still a ban under any definition.
She defined a book ban in schools as “any action taken against a book that leaves access to a book restricted or diminished,” which she tweeted about on Tuesday night. Since my book was moved from its original location due to a complaint from a parent, fewer elementary school students will be able to read my poetry.
What Is The Rationale Behind The Ban On Gorman’s Book?
A parent filed a complaint against five books, including “Love to Langston,” “The ABCs of Black History,” “Cuban Kids,” and “Countries in the News: Cuba,” all based on content, says the Florida Freedom to Read Project, a nonprofit that defends students’ right to access information in the classroom.
Gorman’s poem is about the trauma of watching an attack on Washington after the presidential election. The parent who filed the complaint said Gorman’s poem “caused confusion and indoctrinated students” with its underlying “hate messages.” The complaint misnamed the poem’s “author-publisher” as talk show host Oprah Winfrey.
Check here related tweet below:
Miami-Dade met in April to review 5 books: THE ABCs OF BLACK HISTORY, CUBAN KIDS, COUNTRIES IN THE NEWS: CUBA, THE HILL WE CLIMB, and LOVE TO LANGSTON
All books were challenged for CRT or “gender theory” by the same person in March 2023. pic.twitter.com/QrvmN5Slqo
— Florida Freedom to Read Project (@FLFreedomRead) May 19, 2023
Winfrey is not the author of Gorman’s book, despite her name being on the cover and the fact that she penned the introduction. According to the complaint seen by The Post, the school banned four of the five challenged novels in April. The Miami Herald was the first to report the limits. The titles were deemed “better suited” or “more appropriate” for middle school children by a school materials assessment committee, except “Countries in the News: Cuba,” according to the Herald.