Amanda Gorman's The Hill We Climb was restricted in a school in Miami-Dade County

(NEW YORK)—PEN America today responded to the removal of Amanda Gorman’s book The Hill We Climb from elementary school library shelves in Miami-Dade County, Florida, as the result of a complaint by a single parent.

Several other books, including The ABCs of Black History, were moved to the media center’s middle school shelves, also due to filed complaints by one parent. Gorman’s The Hill We Climb is the text of her inaugural poem.

PEN America issued the following statement:

The Hill We Climb was widely praised after Amanda Gorman read it at President Biden’s inauguration. Today, access to the book has been limited for elementary students at a school in Florida based on the complaint of a single parent. Depriving students of exemplary literary works flies in the face of our basic constitutional freedoms. Black authors and books about race have been disproportionately affected by the sweep of book bans across the country documented by PEN America in the last year and a half. 

The book may remain available to middle school students, but when you restrict or diminish access to a book, that’s a ban. Moving The Hill We Climb to middle school shelves means elementary students can’t or won’t get it; their access has diminished. “


On May 17, PEN America, alongside publisher Penguin Random House, authors, and parents of children affected by the unconstitutional book bans carried out by Florida’s Escambia County School District and School Board, filed suit in federal court asking for books to be returned to school library shelves where they belong.

The lawsuit alleges that the county has set out to exclude certain ideas from their school libraries by restricting books, some of them on the shelves for years, even decades. Ensuring that students have access to books on a wide range of topics and expressing a diversity of viewpoints supports a core function of public education, preparing students to be thoughtful and engaged citizens. 

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About PEN America

PEN America stands at the intersection of literature and human rights to protect open expression in the United States and worldwide. We champion the freedom to write, recognizing the power of the word to transform the world. Our mission is to unite writers and their allies to celebrate creative expression and defend the liberties that make it possible. To learn more visit 

Contact: Suzanne Trimel, [email protected], 201-247-5057