Florida School District bans children’s book on Roberto Clemente
Jonah Winter’s illustrated biography tells the story of this legendary Latino baseball player, pioneer, and humanitarian, but also focuses on racism
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More than 15 years ago, Jonah Winter, a children’s book author who currently resides “in a small town somewhere in Pennsylvania,” published Roberto Clemente: Pride of the Pittsburgh Pirates — a moving illustrated picture book biography of Roberto Clemente, legendary Latino baseball player, pioneer, and humanitarian.
Born and raised in Puerto Rico, Roberto Clemente, whose family had no money, practiced and practiced until — eventually — he made it to the MLB. As a right-fielder for the Pittsburgh Pirates, he earned his nickname, 'The Great One' and became an icon in the Caribbean community.
Despite his inspiring story, both as a baseball player (he was the first Latino to be inducted into the Hall of Fame) and as a humanitarian dedicated to improving the lives of others, Winter received notice in December from writers’ advocacy group PEN America that Clemente was among 176 titles censored at a Florida school district.
The book, illustrated by Raúl Colon, has been removed from shelves in Duval County, Florida, in response to new state laws restricting the content of books in schools.
Many of the censored books dealt with gender, sexuality, or racism, as reported by WITF. In some parts of the book, Winter highlights the racism that Clemente faced during his career — mostly from sportswriters, according to the author.
“I feel very bad for the children in these counties that they’re victims of this nonsense, and they’re being deprived of the opportunities to read certain books that would have important information in them,” the author told WITF.
As previously reported by AL DÍA, other books about Latino figures banned in Florida include those about late Afro-Cuban salsa singer Celia Cruz and Justice Sonia Sotomayor. More than 1 million titles that have been "covered or stored and paused for student use” at the Duval County Public Schools District, Chief Academic Officer Paula Renfro told NBC.
Winter is the award-winning author of more than 40 children's books that promote social justice, facts, artistic expression, nonconformity and baseball. His books include three New York Times Best Illustrated Books Diego, Here Comes The Garbage Barge!, and Ruth Bader Ginsburg: The Case Of RBG Vs. Inequality.