Watch CBS News

South Florida Author Brad Meltzer 'Heartbroken' After Pennsylvania School Board Banned 2 Of His Books About MLK & Rosa Parks

MIAMI (CBSMiami) – A Pennsylvania school board is making headlines for banning several books, some of them highlighting perspectives from people of marginalized backgrounds.  Two books were written by Fort Lauderdale author Brad Meltzer.

"I was heartbroken because these lessons of Dr. King and Rosa Parks were going to be lost on these kids," Meltzer said.

Meltzer was surprised two of his books from his "Ordinary People Change the World" series, "I am Dr. Martin Luther King" and "I am Rosa Parks," had been put on a freeze list by a Pennsylvania school board.

"What the books always do is we start with the heroes when they were kids, so we see Rosa Parks when she was a little girl, you see Dr. King when he was a little boy," he explained.

But some Central York School board members in Pennsylvania said the books on their list along with Meltzer's had divisive or bad ideas.

"There's no politics in the books, it's just facts," he said.

While some books that didn't seem controversial were on the list, others seemingly delved deep into experiences from people of color.

"A school board has considerable latitude to decide on the curriculum and the materials used in the curriculum," Caroline Mala Corbin, University of Miami Professor of Law said.

CBS4 asked Corbin to explain whether the "freezing" or banning of books could make a case for infringement of rights?

"That broad discretion has a limit and so if they are eliminating not for pedagogical reasons that is not reasons related to teaching but because of hostility towards an idea, that's when you have free speech clause problems," she explained.

Meltzer attended the school board meeting via Zoom Monday night to give the leaders some insight into the history lessons his books taught.

"I went and read two pages to them I read two pages from I am Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., and I am Rosa Parks," he said.

Following weeks of criticism that garnered national attention, the Central York School District reversed its decision Monday night.  Meltzer thinks it is a small win for the power of democracy.

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.