If you haven’t heard or kept tabs on the story, Katy, Texas ISD pulled all copies of Angie Thomas’s best selling YA novel The Hate U Give from shelves. This came after a single complaint from a middle age white man who was appalled by reading the first 10 pages of the book and deemed it inappropriate for the students of the school. Rather than follow the process for book removal as outlined by school policy, the book was unilaterally removed from all school library shelves. More details about the pulling of the book can be found here.
This all happened in early December, and when the holidays rolled around, the rage and anger about the school’s decision seemed to have died down across social media. It took a lot of effort to find further news about the status of the book as of now, but thanks to a number of librarians, I’ve confirmed the book is still not on shelves.
Which means it’s time we do something.
After a lot of debating the best way to go about this, library friend and colleague Sylvie Juliet Shaffer gave me a brilliant idea. Rather than seeking out a single place for distributing the books, why not take advantage of the Little Free Libraries throughout Katy?
An idea was born.
Here’s What We Are Doing
Starting today, you can purchase a copy of Angie Thomas’s The Hate U Give from one of numerous wish lists on Amazon (linked below). Those wish lists are linked to individuals in the Katy area who are going to drop copies of the books into local Little Free Libraries, guerrilla style. This will allow readers to find them all over town and not only can they find them, they get to keep copies of the book. The idea is they’ll spread the word — along with our help, of course — and more copies of the book will land in the hands of more readers there.
Maybe the school can keep the book off their shelves. But they can’t keep the book from the hands of readers who are hungry for it and for whom it will be a life-changing, empowering book.
Thanks to the help of Katy Cronk, Kristin McWilliams, Jasmine Lee, Jaison Oliver, Breonna Brownlee, and many others, books will be distributed. Books from the wish lists below will be sent to those individuals, who will then deposit them in Katy’s local Little Free Libraries. Each wish list is for 50 titles as a way to see what sorts of numbers we’re sending down, and more copies will be sought as we continue.
All books must be sent via Amazon. This is done for the purposes of keeping addresses anonymous and not making someone work as a middle person to collect all of the books for redistribution. It keeps time and effort down for everyone who is volunteering to help make this possible.
You can send as many copies as you’d like to from any of the lists.
How You Can Help
Buy a copy or two or ten of the book from the lists below. Can’t afford to? SHARE these lists with anyone you wish to. Share this post, too, so the entire back story is also known.
The more word is spread, the more the local readers will know and have access to the book. The more the kids will know. This works and has worked in previous, similar situations. So even if you can’t lay out cash to buy the book to help, your voice and your share really does make a difference.
These will be updated as more folks volunteer to help out. Again, there are multiple lists because each one will direct to a different volunteer.
- Donate Here (#1)
- Donate Here (#2)
- Donate Here (#3)
- Donate Here (#4)
- Donate Here (#5)
- Donate Here (#6)
- Donate Here (#7)
Why This Matters
We’re getting books to kids. For free. We’re reminding them we see and hear them. That their lives and stories matter. And, in the case of this particular book, we’re reminding black teenagers that their lives matter and that their stories and voices are vital, appreciated, and honored.
Thanks to everyone who helped get this set up and thanks to you for reading and helping out in whatever way you can. You can stay on top of this situation and engage in other ways to support the book by checking out this piece at ALA’s Office of Intellectual Freedom. The Katy ISD school board will be meeting on January 15 to discuss this issue further, and you can learn more about what’s going on by following librarian Courtney Kincaid on Twitter, who is involved with the Texas Library Association, the Office of Intellection Freedom with ALA, and has been sharing news about the book’s removal from Katy ISD shelves as it develops.