Books removed from Florida shelves

Dylan Gentile, Staff Writer


House Bill 1467, passed by the Florida Senate in March 2022, went into effect in January and has caused a stir among teachers, who could face legal penalties for any content perceived as “woke” in their instruction. Classroom libraries have been emptied as the new legislation requires a state-certified media expert to review all books in Florida classrooms if they are accessible to K-12 students. 

In the wake of public controversy surrounding the bill, here are 10 books banned in Duval County. The following come from a list of 176 removed books in the county by Pen America, a nonprofit that advocates for freedom of expression in literature.

“The Life of Rosa Parks” is a biography of the life of the late civil rights leader who was arrested after not giving up her seat on a segregated bus system. It is part of a series about the life of historical icons adapted for children. Similar to the other books in this list, it has been removed from libraries and classrooms until further review.

“Carter Reads the Newspaper” is a biographical book about the life of Carter Godwin Woodson. Carter was born to two formerly enslaved parents who encouraged him to read the newspaper to be informed on current events. He was an African American historian who was one of the first to study the history of the African diaspora, which led to the creation of Black History Month.

“Black Frontiers” is a historical account of black pioneers who settled the western United States. It retells stories of African-American miners, homesteaders, cowboys and gold rushers. The book has many photographs of their life on the frontier.

“A Storm Called Katrina” is a fictional story that follows a ten-year-old boy in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans. He hates how his mother babies him and was only able to grab his horn in the following evacuation.

“Before She Was Harriet” details the famed life of the iconic women who helped the enslaved escape through the Underground Railroad. The book uses poetry and watercolors to show off her exploits. 

“One Green Apple” details the life of a young woman who immigrates to the United States. After she goes on a field trip to an apple orchard with her classmates, she realizes they have some things in common and helps them make apple cider.

“The Double Life of Pocahontas” is a biographical account of the life of the famed indigenous woman who befriended the residents of the Jamestown colony. The book aims to dispel the myths around her life that are romanticized in popular media and details her lived experience.

“A Handful of Stars” is a fictional novel detailing the friendship between a girl named Lily and an unexpected friend she makes, Salma, who is the daughter of migrant farmers tending to the blueberry fields in Maine. Lily’s dog goes missing, and Salma finds it, starting a friendship in which they bond over painting bee boxes.

“Make Way for Dyamonde Daniel” is a fictional book detailing the life of a spunky third-grader who makes a place for herself in a new neighborhood after a recent move. She befriends a grumpy boy and is determined to get to the bottom of his attitude.

In “The Berenstain Bears and the Big Question,” Mama and Papa explain the concept of god to Stan and Jan. The book takes a largely Christian perspective on the issue and resolves the narrative with the existence of god.

In response to the larger book removal trend across the State of Florida and the nation at large, students are sharing QR codes that link to the Brooklyn Public Library’s unbanned books initiative. The library is giving free digital access to publications removed by school districts across the country. The books can be found at

An example of a QR code shared by many students which links to the Brooklyn Library’s banned books catalog.