WENTZVILLE, Mo. — Author Toni Morrison’s book “The Bluest Eye” won’t be found in libraries in the Wentzville School District after the school board voted Thursday 4-3 to remove the book.
On Monday the school district released a statement saying, “After the book ‘The Bluest Eye’ by Toni Morrison was formally challenged and placed for committee review, the board voted to not retain the book in the Wentzville School District.”
The district review committee had opted to retain the book citing author Toni Morrison’s prose and manner of writing.
“Toni Morrison won a Noble prize for literature for one thing,” said Kris Kleindienst, owner of Left Bank Books. “Toni Morrison was an African American woman. She is a brilliant writer, and her books are in all canons of literature. ‘Bluest Eye’ in particular is a really poignant story and heartbreaking one about a young girl confronting her blackness in a world that hates black people and also dealing with serious issues like sexual abuse. To ban a book like that is to say let’s sweep all this discussion under the rug.”
The book, about a young girl growing up after the Great Depression, is a reading option for AP English. First published in 1970, Morrison herself claimed to write the book to remind readers how hurtful racism is.
On Monday at Left Bank Books in the Central West End, the bookstore was noticing an uptick in inquiries for the book.
“Kids are growing and developing and should have access to as much material as is out there, “says Kleindienst. “It shouldn’t be the decision of a few parents what kids should read.”
The Wentzville School District also removed “All Boys Aren’t Blue” by George M. Johnson, “Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic” by Alison Bechdel, and “Heavy: An American Memoir” by Kiese Laymon.
“I guess my thoughts about school boards right now is that more people with a better grasp of democracy right now need to get on school boards,” said Kleindienst.