Omaha Public School Board members voted to keep two sexually explicit books in its school libraries on Monday night. “All Boys Aren’t Blue” and “Tricks” were recommended to stay in the school libraries after a district-level review committee convened on each book. The board accepted the recommendations to keep both books.
Carrie Carr, Buena Vista High School principal, received two requests for re-evaluation related to “All Boys Aren’t Blue” in July. The review committee met on Sept. 26 to introduce the book and met on Oct. 24.
Reasons for the request of removing “All Boys Aren’t Blue” from the school libraries were its inclusion of nudity, sexual activity, sexual assault, alternate gender ideologies, profanity and derogatory terms, alcohol and drug use as well as controversial racial commentary.
The district, however, used Board of Education policies, legal requirements and the Library Bill of Rights from the American Library Association to make its decision.
The review committee quoted Booklist as recommending the book for high school students, noting “the severe lack of #OwnVoices books from black queer men makes this title an absolute necessity.”
The committee unanimously recommended the district keep the book in the library. It claimed the book is only in “age-appropriate schools” and that it has received significant positive professional reviews and grade-level recommendations.
Here is a passage from “All Boys Aren’t Blue,” read by Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds:
Here is the passage that Reynolds read:
“You told me to take my pajamas, my pajama pants, which I said to take off my pajama pants, which I told you when, which I did. You then took off your shorts, followed by your boxers,” she read from the passage. “There you stood in front of me, fully erected and said, ‘Taste it.’ At first, I laughed and refused. But then you said, ‘come on, Matt, taste it. This is what boys like us do when we like each other.’ I finally listened to you. The whole time I knew it was wrong, not because I was having sexual intercourse with a guy, but that you were my family. I only did that for about 45 seconds before you had me stop. Then you got down on your hands and knees and told me to close my eyes, and that’s when you began oral sex on me as well.”
The Omaha School District said “All Boys Aren’t Blue” supports culture identification, family dynamic theme, love and acceptance, students making connections to literature and the greater world, providing insight into multiple lived experiences, empathy, understanding, critical thinking, giving voice and affirming of identity.
You can view other excerpts from “All Boys Aren’t Blue” here.
As for “Tricks,” here are some excerpts:
“I have to admit I have thought about boinking her more than once, while taking solo care of a hard-on.
Oh yeah, the big M. I probably do it more than I should, and Ronnie is definite boner bait, at least when
I’m left to my own imagination instead of Internet porn. Viva la webcams!”
“…The guy is right behind me, beer breath hot on my neck. Iris didn’t lie. You really are a knockout. His
around me, and his rough hands go straight to my boobs. I try to knock them away but am no match for
his strength. You like it rough? ‘Cause I’m just the guy to give it that way No extra charge.
The words burn into my ear. “What? What the fuck did you say?” A sudden burst of will pushes him
back, away. I turn to face him. He advances, a thin line of spit leaking from his mouth to his chin. I stare
at evil. I said, no extra charge. Already paid two hundred dollars for a good time with you. Might as well
make it very good.
He’s on me, yanking my hair, pushing me to my knees. He flips me over. You’re even prettier from
behind, know that? I hear his zipper lower. It is the loudest sound ever. “Don’t,” I try, but it sticks, pasted
to disgust, lodged in my throat. Useless to plead. Useless to fight. He yanks down my shorts in a single
swift motion. He is on me. In m Humiliating me in every possible way, right here on the kitchen floor. As
promised, he is rough. Biting. Pounding. Shredding. Ripping. “Please?”
The word bounces off him, ping-pongs weakly in my ears. Trying to fight him only fuels him. For a
fleeting second, I think maybe someone will come through the door to save me. And then, despite
everything that’s happening to me, I laugh out loud. Save me? What did he say? I already paid for a good
time with you.
I’ve been sold. And just who would sell me? The answer is all too obvious: Iris. My mother
And as he finishes, all sticky and stinking and revolting, something else suddenly becomes crystal clear.
This day was exactly like that other day. If this guy paid Iris, so did Walt
When He’s Gone I use wet paper towels to clean the mess on the linoleum. Under the sink, I find the
Pine-Sol, carry it to the shower. It stings, which means it’s working. I scrub my body over and over, washing away all evidence of this afternoon. On TV, they want you to call the cops. Tell. But what do
say? “Hey. My mom took money to let some guy rape me.” Who’d believe that? I go to my room, stuff
clothes into my backpack.”
As for “Tricks,” the committee said it helps students feel seen, heard and valued in the literature. It also provides students with access and support of a lived experience.
You can view additional excerpts of “Tricks” here.