Banned Books 2023 – It’s Perfectly Normal: Changing Bodies, Growing Up, Sex, and Sexual Health

Marshall University does not ban books! The information is provided to let people know what has been banned/challenged elsewhere.


On August 17, members of the groups Idaho Liberty Dogs and Concerned Citizens of Meridian spoke out against It’s Perfectly Normal by Robie Harris and Sex is a Funny Word by Cory Silverberg during the public comments of the Meridian District Library’s board meeting. They referred to the developmentally-appropriate sex education materials as “smut-filled pornography” and claimed it was “time to defund the Meridian Library Tax District.” Both titles remain available throughout the library system.

It’s Perfectly Normal was one of 58 titles withdrawn from libraries throughout the Walton County School District (FL). The list of titles was created by the Florida Citizens Alliance and given to the head of curriculum and instruction by a teacher who is a Moms for Liberty member. As no review committee was involved in the decision-making process, the district’s policies were not followed.

Gender Queer and It’s Perfectly Normal were challenged at Maine School Administrative District #6. Both were retained without restriction.


A patron of the Cass County (MO) Public Library bypassed the library’s Request for Reconsideration process and went directly to the county commission (both on social media and at board meetings) to demand the removal of this award-winning nonfiction book for youth. The library had owned the book since 1994. The concerns were pornography, sexual explicitness, and illegality because it showed a man kissing a man, a woman kissing a woman, was “not right,” and a five-year-old might stumble across the book. Retained.

Llano County (TX) Commissioners forced the library system to remove four books (I Need a New Butt by Dawn McMillan, Freddie the Farting Snowman by Jane Bexley, In The Night Kitchen by Maurice Sendak, and It’s Perfectly Normal by Robie Harris) from circulation. After the commissioners handpicked members for a library advisory board, the library was closed for three days for “inventory and proper cataloging of books.” The library staff was directed to conduct a “thorough review” of every children’s book in the library and assess their content. Additionally, the online service that provides access to magazines, electronic books, and audiobooks was suspended.


It’s Perfectly Normal has been hailed by parents, educators, psychologists, and doctors for its through and scientifically valid information concerning puberty and sexual topics. Arizona Republican State Rep. Kelly Townsend wrote a Facebook post calling on public school and county libraries to pull copies from their shelves based on the false claim that the book “depicted minors having sexual intercourse.” The Maricopa County (AZ) Library District retained the book, finding it adhered to their collection development policy.


Pulled from the Hudson Park Elementary School library in Rainier (OR). Officials with the Rainier School District noted the title is on the state-approved list of books allowed at the school, but in a letter sent home to parents, the school’s principal stated the books had been inappropriately passed out to fourth graders in the library. “Procedures have been put into place to make sure this doesn’t happen again. All questionable books have been pulled from library shelves,” the principal wrote in the letter.


Challenged as an e-book at the Francis Howell middle school libraries in St. Charles (MO) because of cartoon nudity.


Challenged, but retained at the Lee County (FL) libraries despite the book’s explicit illustrations.


Retained in the Lewiston (ME) Public Library after a patron refused to return a book due to her objections to its content. Other patrons donated four copies of the book which remains in circulation at the library.


A Lewiston (ME) patron refused to return the book to the Lewiston and Auburn public libraries because she was “sufficiently horrified by the illustrations and sexually graphic, amoral, abnormal contents.” A police investigation found the library did not violate the town ordinance against obscenity and the patron will stand trial for theft.


Restricted, but latter, based upon a review committee’s recommendations, returned to general circulation shelves with some limits on student access in the Holt Middle School library in Fayetteville (AR) despite a parent’s complaint that it was sexually explicit.


Challenged, but retained at the Holt Middle School library in Fayetteville (AR) despite a parent’s complaint that it was sexually explicit.


Moved from the young adult to the adult section of the Fort Bend County Libraries in Richmond (TX). Also moved to the restricted section of the Fort Bend School Districts media centers after a resident complained via email about the book’s content.


Challenged, but retained, in Montgomery County (TX) library system after the Republican Leadership Council characterized the book as “vulgar” and trying to “minimize or even negate that homosexuality is a problem”.


Restricted in elementary and middle school due to objections of “value statements”.


Challenged in Holland (MA) and Marion County (FL) public libraries due to sexually explicit content.

On These Pages

A Banned book has been removed from a library, classroom, etc.
A Challenged book has been requested to be removed from a library, classroom, etc.

For additional information contact

Ron Titus,

Last updated

August 21, 2023