Texas District Removes Graphic Version of Diary of Anne FrankBreaking News
tags: Holocaust, Texas, textbooks, censorship, Anne Frank
A school district in suburban Fort Worth, Texas, has ordered its librarians to remove an illustrated adaptation of “The Diary of Anne Frank” from their shelves and digital libraries, along with the Bible and dozens of other books that were challenged by parents last year.
The book purge at the Keller Independent School District in Keller, Texas, was requested Tuesday by a district executive in an email, a copy of which was obtained by the Jewish Telegraphic Agency. A copy of the email also circulated on social media.
“By the end of today, I need all books pulled from the library and classrooms,” wrote Jennifer Price, Keller ISD’s executive director of curriculum and instruction.
It was the latest in a string of book removals being implemented at schools at the behest of conservative activist parents and school board members who are challenging a slew of texts on grounds ranging from their LGBT-friendly content to their supposed connections to “critical race theory.” Some of these challenges have ensnared books with Jewish themes in the past.
“It’s disgusting. It’s devastating. It’s legitimate book banning, there’s no way around it,” Laney Hawes, a parent of four children in the Keller district, told JTA about the order. “I feel bad for the teachers and the librarians.”
“Anne Frank’s Diary: The Graphic Adaptation,” by Israeli filmmaker Ari Folman and illustrator David Polonsky, is a 2019 illustrated adaptation of the bestselling diary by the teenage Holocaust victim. The New York Times called the book “so engaging and effective that it’s easy to imagine it replacing the [original] ‘Diary’ in classrooms and among younger readers.”
The parental challenge against the book came in February, and the district initially dismissed it, Hawes said. Hawes, who is not Jewish, is on a list of parents who can be called in to serve on a committee to review book challenges.
“When we got ‘The Diary of Anne Frank,’ we thought, ‘This is a joke.’ But it wasn’t,” Hawes said, adding that the complaint was that “the book shouldn’t be read without parent supervision.” She suspected that the parent may have objected to the unabridged diary’s references to female genitalia, same-sex attraction and other sexual matters, which have been deemed “pornographic” by parental challenges in the past. But she couldn’t be sure because the parent who challenged the book didn’t show up to the meeting.