PINELLAS COUNTY, Fla. — A letter was sent to Superintendent Kevin Hendrick and Pinellas School Board members pushing to stop the review board from assessing 87 books. 

What You Need To Know

  • 87 books in Pinellas County Schools are up for evaluation with the review board to determine the appropriateness of the books

  • A letter was sent June 30 to the school board by the groups "We Need Diverse Books," "PEN America," and "Florida Freedom to Read Project"

  • The review meeting begins Monday and continues Tuesday

These books are being evaluated for "age and grade appropriateness." The letter to the school board says some of the titles included are "We Still Belong," about a girl celebrating Indigenous Peoples' Day; "All American Boys," a book about a violent racial incident; and "Daughter of the Deep," which features a non-binary character.

The letter was sent on June 30 to the school board by the groups We Need Diverse Books, PEN America and Florida Freedom to Read Project, plus many of the authors of the books on that list. The letter says, in part, "targeting these titles sets a terrible precedent and message that diverse books need to be further scrutinized and censored, just because they are by and about marginalized creators."

The letter went on to ask the district to cancel the review board meeting entirely. However, our partners at the Tampa Bay Times reports the review is scheduled for Monday and Tuesday, and the superintendent told the Times he did not plan to cancel the meeting.

The library media review team most recently made headlines a few months ago when "The Bluest Eye" by Toni Morrison was pulled from library shelves. It was eventually returned to libraries after the team recommended making the book available for students in grades 9-12.