(NEW YORK)— In response to a new Florida censorship law that bans sexual content in schools, Collier County, FL has pulled 300 book titles from school shelves, including literary classics and acclaimed contemporary young adult titles. PEN America said the district was “erring on the side of extreme caution while navigating vague legislation,” referring to Florida House Bill 1069.

Books banned include Invisible Man, by Ralph Ellison, Catch-22, by Joseph Heller, and Brave New World, by Aldous Huxley, as well as contemporary young adult books including The Poet X, by Elizabeth Acevedo, The Belles, by Dhonielle Clayton, The Firekeeper’s Daughter, by Angeline Boulley, and What Girls are Made Of, by Elana K. Arnold.

The long list of titles include many well-known and best-selling authors including Judy Blume, Orson Scott Card, Stephen Chbosky, Mary Higgins Clark, Arthur C. Clarke, Pat Conroy, Janet Evanovich, Neil Gaiman, John Green, John Grisham, Ellen Hopkins, Khaled Hosseini, Sue Monk Kidd, Stephen King, Barbara Kingsolver, Dean Koontz, David Levithan, Patricia McCormick, Toni Morrison, Joyce Carol Oates, James Patterson, Ashley Hope Pérez, Jodi Picoult, Anna Quindlen, Nora Roberts, Tom Robbins, Anne Rice, John Updike, and Ibi Zoboi.

“We are saddened for the students of Collier County Public Schools that so many titles, including renowned literary classics and contemporary young adult works are banned from student access,” said Kasey Meehan, Freedom to Read program director at PEN America, “these books appear to be banned with little transparency and process. Once again we see a Florida school district erring on the side of extreme caution while navigating vague legislation.” 

Many of the banned titles were adapted for movies and TV shows such as Dune Chronicles, by Frank Herbert, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, by Ken Kesey, Girl with A Pearl Earring, by Tracy Chevalier, and The Hate U Give, by Angie Thomas.

READ a PEN America explanation of the Collier County action. 

PEN America has been at the forefront of documenting and defending against the unprecedented rise of school book bans nationwide. In its most recent report, Florida surpassed Texas with the most books banned. Depriving students of exemplary literary works flies in the face of basic constitutional freedoms and PEN America is suing Escambia County, Florida, over its book bans. Black and LGBTQ+ authors and books about race, racism, and LGBTQ identities have been disproportionately affected in the book bans documented by PEN America in the last year and a half. The wave of book banning is worse than anything seen in decades with PEN America counting more than 5,800 book bans since the fall of 2021. 

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 PEN.org 

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