Books aimed at teaching children about how Hank Aaron and Roberto Clemente overcame racism to become both baseball and American icons were removed from schools in Duvall County, Florida for "review" early in 2022, and Pen America says they are among 176 flagged titles that have "been kept in storage with little indication of when they might return to classrooms."
"Henry Aaron's Dream" was published in 2010, with the book dealing with the following themes, according to Amazon:
"Before he was Hammerin’ Hank, Henry Aaron was a young boy growing up in Mobile, Alabama, with what seemed like a foolhardy dream: to be a big-league baseball player. He didn’t have a bat. He didn’t have a ball. And there wasn’t a single black ballplayer in the major leagues. But none of this could stop him."
Matt Tavares, who is the author of the book, responded to the tweet above:
Meanwhile, "Roberto Clemente: Pride of the Pittsburgh Pirates" is also being reviewed. This book was published in 2005 and written by Jonah Winter. The book on Clemente -- who Major League Baseball named an annual good guy award after -- has the following synopsis:
"On an island called Puerto Rico, there lived a little boy who wanted only to play baseball. Although he had no money, Roberto Clemente practiced and practiced until—eventually—he made it to the Major Leagues. As a right-fielder for the Pittsburgh Pirates, he fought tough opponents—and even tougher racism—but with his unreal catches and swift feet, he earned his nickname, "The Great One." He led the Pirates to two World Series, hit three-thousand hits, and was the first Latino to be inducted into the Hall of Fame. But it wasn't just baseball that made Clemente legendary—he was was also a humanitarian dedicated to improving the lives of others."
According to Pen America, books about Rosa Parks, Japanese interment camps and Hurricane Katrina have also been put on ice.
In January, Hannah Natanson of The Washington Post reported that both Duval and Manatee counties have seen teachers told to "remove or wrap up their classroom libraries." This came after an amendment was made to House Bill 1467 -- passed last July -- requiring books in classroom libraries to be "approved and selected by a media specialist."
The original bill contained the following guidelines:
"Any material used in a classroom, made available in a school library, or included on a reading list contains content that is pornographic or prohibited under s. 847.012, is not suited to student needs and their ability to comprehend the material presented, or is inappropriate for the grade level and age group for which the material is used.
"If the district school board finds that an instructional material does not meet the criteria under sub-subparagraph a. or that any other material contains prohibited content under sub-subparagraph b., the school district shall discontinue use of the material for any grade level or age group for which such use is inappropriate or unsuitable."
"Parents, stakeholders and community members" are able to fill out a reconsideration of media materials form on the Duval County Public Schools website. Such an ability for parents to object was required upon the signing of the aforementioned bill.
Gov. Ron DeSantis, who is viewed as the top potential challenger to former president Donald Trump for the Republican nomination in 2024, signed House Bill 1467 into law last year. DeSantis has not yet declared his 2024 intentions.
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