Banned Books 2021 – Red: A Crayon’s Story

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


The Charlottesville (VA) City School Board received a challenge to the school’s unit about “how families are different.” The challenger asked that the school stop using the term “non-binary” and remove the picture book about a crayon who—despite his red wrapper—is blue. After internal review, the book, term, and curriculum were all retained.


The Superintendent of the school district in Oak Park (CA) announced the introduction of gender identity curriculum for elementary schools to parents, to include the books Sparkle By by Leslea Newman, It’s Okay to Be Different by Todd Parr, Red: A Crayon’s Story by Michael Hall, Neither by Airlie Anderson, and Jamie is Jamie: A Book About Being Yourself and Playing Your Way by Afsaneh Moradian. The curriculum sparked strong protests from 300 parents, some claiming that the lessons were “unscientific ideology,” others believing that the parents should decide whether to broach the subject, not the schools. Following a review by the district curriculum council and parent-teacher organizations at each of the three elementary schools, the Oak Park Board of Education adopted the program.


Challenged, but retained in a Rocklin (CA) Academy school. A transgender kindergarten student gave some books about her situation to her teacher, and the teacher read them to the class. Some parents complained to the school board about being “blindsided.” The district responded that the books were age-appropriate, fell within the book selection policy, and that unlike sex education, the topic of gender identity did not require prior parental notice. However, the superintendent stated that “staff will be engaging parents and teachers in discussions about how materials outside our curriculum will be addressed in the future.”

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

September 10, 2021