November 10, 2021

Danika Ellis: All 850 Books Texas Lawmaker Matt Krause Wants To Ban

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Over at Book Riot, Danika Ellis ploughed through Matt Krause’s entire list of questionable books. Let’s cut to her conclusion:

I cannot overstate what a weird, jumbled mess this list is, and after considering it seriously, I can conclusively say it should not be taken seriously.

But the full breakdown is interesting. 

Ever since I saw this list, I’ve been itching to dig into it. It’s a bizarre assortment of titles, formatted in a way that suggests it’s copy-and-pasted from library listings. (The format of “Title : subtitle” is common in library records, but not in most other places.) Where did these books in particular come from, and what’s really on it? I went through all 850 books to find out, and I found some interesting and unsettling things.

Perhaps the most disturbing trend I saw in this list is the challenging of books that teach students their rights. Of all the things to teach in school or for kids to have access to, this is one of the most important. To be clear, I’m not even counting books about reproductive rights or your rights as an LGBTQ person in particular. These are titles like The Legal Atlas of the United StatesTeen Legal RightsGender Equality and Identity Rights (Foundations of Democracy), Equal RightsWe the Students: Supreme Court Sases for and About Students, and Peaceful Rights for Equal Rights.

What does it say about an elected official that he would want books about students’ legal rights taken out of school libraries? Who considers it dangerous for kids to know their rights? Withholding information from students about their rights is incredibly unethical. Whether a parent or lawmaker agrees with every right students have, they should not be able to deny students’ access to knowing about them.


Another strange consequence of this keyword approach is that a lot of books are listed that are ridiculous to think any library would currently have in stock. There are so many outdated and cringe-worthy sex ed books on this list that no teenager in 2021 would pick up. For example, The Reproductive System by Alvin Silverstein from 1971 or The Seventeen Guide To Sex and Your Body from 1996. The list also include books that are warning about the dangers of sex or that are teaching abstinence.

Read the full analysis here. It’s really something.

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