Nampa, Idaho, Schools Permanently Remove 24 Books from Library

Kelly Jensen


Kelly is a former librarian and a long-time blogger at STACKED. She's the editor/author of (DON'T) CALL ME CRAZY: 33 VOICES START THE CONVERSATION ABOUT MENTAL HEALTH and the editor/author of HERE WE ARE: FEMINISM FOR THE REAL WORLD. Her next book, BODY TALK, will publish in Fall 2020. Follow her on Instagram @heykellyjensen.

In a 3-2 vote from the school board, 24 books were permanently removed from Nampa, Idaho, schools. The list, brought to the board earlier this year from “concerned parents,” includes books on the well-circulated Moms For Liberty book list. Here are the 24 books banned from Nampa schools:

  • The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini
  • Leah on the Offbeat by Becky Albertalli
  • The Prince and the Dressmaker by Jen Wang
  • Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher
  • The 57 Bus by Dashka Slater
  • Drama by Raina Telgemeier
  • Looking for Alaska by John Green
  • The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison
  • The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood
  • L8r, g8r by Lauren Myracle
  • Out of Darkness by Ashley Hope Perez
  • Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky
  • Crank by Ellen Hopkins
  • The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie
  • City of Heavenly Fire by Cassandra Clare
  • Clockwork Princess by Cassandra Clare
  • Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell
  • Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer
  • Sold by Patricia McCormick
  • Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson
  • 33 Snowfish by Adam Rapp
  • It’s Perfectly Normal: Changing Bodies, Growing Up, Sex, and Sexual Health by Robie H. Harris

In early discussions about the challenged titles, committee members considered keeping the first several titles on shelves. This list, with discussion, suggests that reviewers utilized Common Sense Media–a non-professional resource–to help guide their conversations about the books. No books were recommended for removal until a thorough review of the latter half of the list could be further evaluated.

The school board elected otherwise and voted to remove all of the books.

“By that time, we’ve traumatized or caused mental destruction to these students,” Vice-chair Tracey Pearson said. “I think it’s too long, and in the process could add lifetime trauma to a child who does not need to be experimenting with something that they have read about. It is very destructive and scary.”

Tracey Pearson is connected to the Idaho Freedom Foundation, whose mission is, “to make Idaho into a Laboratory of Liberty by exposing, defeating, and replacing the state’s socialist public policies.”

Pearson, along with Jeff Kirkman and Brook Taylor, won seats on the Nampa School Board last fall, giving it a conservative majority.

Idaho politicians have made books a focal point in the last year. This legislative session saw the the House pass HB 666, intended to criminalize librarians who had “objectionable” material available for children in the library (it has yet, and likely will not, proceed through the state Senate). State Representative Heather Scott cohosted an event late last month to help train individuals in challenging and removing books from libraries across the state.

It is not yet clear what will happen to the books being removed from Nampa schools. This decision was not made by the committee comprised of librarians, educators, and community members but instead made by the conservative majority of the Board–a power that they do not have but exercised anyway.