George M. Johnson is not surprised that their book is banned: “America has always had a problem with everything that tells the truth”

George M. Johnson always knew that something like this would happen. Johnson’s book, “All Boys Aren’t Blue,” is just one of many works by queer writers who have been removed from several libraries in primary schools across the country.

“I knew it would shake the nerves of people who have always suppressed stories like mine,” Johnson told CBS News. “The United States has always had a problem with everything that tells the truth. Had I been a white queer writer, this book would have been (perceived) in a very different way. I would have been Ernest Hemingway’s Second Coming or another great American.” author’.”

The book, published in 2020, covers topics of consent, freedom of action, sexual abuse, and depicts a sexual encounter and statutory rape. It has been removed from school libraries in 10 states, including Florida, Kansas, Missouri, Pennsylvania and Texas.

In Florida, a member of the Flagler County School Board filed a criminal complaint with the sheriff’s office, saying “All Boys Aren’t Blue” was on the shelves of two high schools and a middle school, The Palm Coast Observer reported.

“This book is to be investigated as a crime in our media center,” Jill Woolbright told the publication. “This is pretty heavy stuff that violates our own policies. That’s why I felt the need to file the report, so I know it will be investigated.”

In Philadelphia, Vicki Flannery heads the local branch of Moms for Liberty, a nonprofit dedicated to organizing and empowering parents to “defend their parental rights at all levels of government.” Flannery says parents who have spent time reading several books have caused concern across the country. Some of the books, she says, were available at public school libraries.

After reading an excerpt from “All Boys Aren’t Blue,” Flannery asked board members if they thought the book was unacceptable to minors. While the board believes the book was purchased with good intentions, it has been removed from the school library.

“I believe that when COVID happened and kids went to virtual education, parents were more focused on what was happening in their classroom and they were able to see different types of curricula going on. Things that did not happen seen as appropriate for the age they were taught, “she said.

"Not all boys are blue"
“Not all boys are blue”

Farrar, Straus and Giroux

“I think between us who look through the COVID lens and we see through today’s world, everyone sees what’s going on everywhere else and the parents start to see this. This is not just my district, it’s throughout the country that this is happening. “

Johnson said the book is aimed at young adults ages 14 to 18. They said they are not responsible for making the book available at elementary school libraries. But says the removal of “All Boys Aren’t Blue” does more harm than good.

“The reality is that there is no subject that is too heavy for a child who could experience the said subject. If a child can experience sexual abuse at the age of seven, a child should understand what sexual abuse looks like. , how to handle it, how to discuss it, and how to talk about it, “Johnson said.

“The consequences of removing a resource like mine do not mean that young people, specifically black queer youth, will not experience these things. What they are doing is removing an educational tool so that they have the knowledge and means to understand how they must deal with these situations. ”

George M. Johnson
George M. Johnson


Both Flannery and Tiffany Justice, co-founder of Moms for Liberty, say they do not believe in banning books. Flannery says books like “All Boys Are Not Blue” should be found in a public library, not in a public school.

“The biggest concern is where is the responsibility for how the books are examined. Who is helping the kids pick out the books. Maybe they should just be somewhere else. As much as if we would not allow kids to go and watch PG-13 movies “At school you often have to sign a dispensation and say that it’s OK for my child to watch this movie at school. Books have different things in them and we just want the parents to be part of the process,” he explains. Justice.

“We are working hard to help reform public education. We are not looking to ruin it, we want to help fix it with parents involved.”

Amid the book’s widespread removal, Johnson is working to ensure that free copies of “All Boys Aren’t Blue” are readily available to queer youth at LGBTQ resource centers and Little Free Libary locations across the country. “For me, as a black creative, I also take up the challenge of turning my book into something else that cannot be denied,” they said.

Gabrielle Union, actress and film director, reportedly signed a deal to develop “All Boys Aren’t Blue” into a series for Sony Pictures TV. She responded to the trial regarding Twitter: “You can not stop the truth … I’m ready to fight.”


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