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10 of the Most Absurd Titles on State Rep. Matt Krause's 'Banned Books' List

Texas Republicans are getting slammed over their efforts to ban certain school library books.
Texas Republicans are getting slammed over their efforts to ban certain school library books. Photo by Fred Kearney on Unsplash
Texas Republican lawmakers are apparently picky readers. Some, like Fort Worth state Rep. Matt Krause, don’t want students checking out books on topics that could make them feel uncomfortable. In fact, Krause was so concerned by what your kid is reading that last year, he compiled a list of around 850 novels that he evidently wants removed from school shelves.

Certain titles are somewhat expected. On the obvious side of things, conservatives like Krause don’t want young minds to learn that the country’s history is deeply tainted by racism (slavery, Jim Crow, police brutality), or anything about sex. A whopping 35 titles that feature the word “abortion” appear on the list, which is timely now that the Supreme Court appears poised to overturn Roe v. Wade. Gender discussions also won’t fly in Krause’s classroom, particularly those related to nonbinary and transgender issues.

But Krause and company also seem set on banning a number of books that, even from the lens of a total cynic, are head-scratchers. Like, what the hell does Wonder Woman have to do with anything?

Here are the 10 most absurd books that Krause doesn't want in Texas schools.

The Year They Burned the Books, Nancy Garden
In this fictional title from 1999, a high school newspaper editor pens an op-ed outlining her support for the new sex-ed curriculum. At the same time, a conservative school board member attempts to censor the health program, including its textbooks. C’mon, Krause: Banning a book about banning books is a little on the nose, no?

The Confessions of Nat Turner, William Styron
Named one of Time Magazine’s 100 best novels from 1923 to 2005, The Confessions of Nat Turner also earned a Pulitzer Prize. No matter. Texas Republicans don’t want kids to read about the 1831 Virginia slave revolt, which was led by the titular character and resulted in the deaths of around 55 white folks.

The Cider House Rules, John Irving
This best-selling book was later made into a two-time Academy Award-winning movie starring Tobey Maguire and Michael Caine. In rural Maine, Homer Wells, an orphan and protégé of a physician who delivers illegal abortions, disapproves of the controversial procedure.

Avoiding Bullies? Skills to Outsmart and Stop Them, Louise Spilsbury
Avoiding Bullies details the various forms that bullying can take and equips readers with tools to cope. It also tells them “how to boost their self-esteem” and “how to help a friend,” plus how to deal with adult bullies such as teachers and parents. Maybe the author can add a section on how to deal with lawmaker-bullies in the next edition.

Everything You Love Will Burn: Inside the Rebirth of White Nationalism in America, Vegas Tenold
Far-right groups are fast becoming part of the political mainstream, as laid out in this 2018 book on racial violence and white nationalist groups like the KKK. Nothing to see here, kids.

The Gale Encyclopedia of Medicine, Jacqueline L. Longe
This comprehensive book covers scores of medical issues in easy-to-read language, including symptoms, prevention efforts and treatments. It also boasts some 900 color illustrations and images, plus a timeline of breakthroughs in the medical field.

Native America and the Question of Genocide, Alex Alvarez
Centuries ago, European settlers stole land from Native Americans, spreading terrible diseases and slaughtering and displacing the indigenous peoples. These days, it’s common knowledge, but it’s apparently an inconvenient truth that Texas Republicans would rather students not think about.

I’m Pregnant. Now What?, Cleo Stanley and Carolyn Simpson
It’s too bad that lawmakers are trying to get rid of this book. Since Texas virtually banned abortion last year, a lot more teens are going to be asking themselves this very question.

Wonder Woman Unbound: The Curious History of the World’s Most Famous Heroine, Tim Hanley
Listen, y’all, chicks can save the world, too. Wonder Woman Unbound highlights the history of the extraordinary heroine who flouted gender norms and worked to uproot the patriarchy. Guess some people still like their superheroes with a side of sexism.

Inventions and Inventors, Roger Smith
We live in today’s modern society thanks to groundbreaking inventions by revolutionary inventors. But for some reason or other, Krause doesn’t want kids to know about awe-inspiring achievements, which range from “simple gadgets to complex medical breakthroughs.”
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Simone Carter, a staff news reporter at the Dallas Observer, graduated from the University of North Texas' Mayborn School of Journalism. Her favorite color is red, but she digs Miles Davis' Kind of Blue.
Contact: Simone Carter