Bookstr News: Book Bans Continue, Adaptations, Dolly Parton, and More

S2E4 of Bookstr News Roundup is here! Read on to discover what’s happening in the bookish community: book bans, adaptations, Dolly Parton, and so much more!

Book Culture Book News

Welcome back to the latest edition of Bookstr News Roundup, where we give you all the deets on recent bookish news. We’ve got a lot to cover this week, from book bans to adaptations, and Dolly Parton’s generosity, so let’s dive right in. 

Book Bans Continue, Progress Sees Backlash

Montgomery County Parents Want Protest Revocation of Opt-Out Option

In a progressive move, a Montgomery County school board revoked the opt-out option for parents regarding their children reading LGBTQ+ literature in school. This new no-opt-out policy was instituted in March across all grade levels, K-12. The policy met backlash from conservative parents and religious organizations, including the notorious Moms for Liberty. Protests have been held outside the district administrative offices, and a lawsuit has been filed as of May. It’s important to note, at this time, the protesters aren’t wanting the books removed from the classroom, only the option for parents to choose what content their students are exposed to.

“MCPS expects all classrooms to be inclusive and safe spaces for students, including those who identify as LGBTQ+ or have family members in the LGBTQ+ community.”

—MCPS spokesperson

Many of the LGBTQ+ books these parents and organizations want to opt out of are historical or bring inclusivity within the classroom, “The Stonewall Riots” by Fayle Pitman and “And Tango Makes Three” by Justin Richardson and Peter Parnell included. The district’s reason for this move was to “reflect the diversity of our global community.” Each book is said to have been extensively researched for age and developmental appropriateness.

LA County Considering eBook Availability

In response to the rise in book bans nationwide, Los Angeles County is considering making banned books available to all California residents through its ebook program. The proposal was raised by supervisors Lindsey Horvath and Janice Hahn after research from PEN America was released regarding the increase of book banning over the 2022-23 school year. If approved, October 1 will be the launch date for the state-wide digital library card program, just in time for Banned Books Week.


Book Rating System in Elizabethtown May Get Approval

A Pennsylvania school district in Elizabethtown is reviewing a new book rating policy. The goal? To identify mature content in books for students and parents. Mature content is being discerned on a number of factors, including vulgar language, depictions of violence and abuse, and sexual maturity. While acknowledging that the rating system will not please everyone, the system is designed to be “fair and balanced.” Parents still have the option with the district to opt out of their student’s reading material that concerns them. 

The new policy was reviewed in the June district meeting and will be voted on come August. Should it be approved, the policy will go into effect immediately.


It Ends With Us Adaptation Halted

Colleen Hoover’s novels have seen much chatter within the bookish community. BookTok launched the five-year-old It Ends With Us’s bestselling streak in 2021 when it caught fire among creators. In early 2023, an adaptation was announced along with casting, which threw the bookish community into an upset roar over the A-list cast. Despite the heated tension among the fans, the casting isn’t what’s caused the indefinite pause in filming. 


Production was halted when the Writer’s Guild of America disagreed with the production’s financing through Wayfarer Studios. Approximately 140 crew members are without a job with the ongoing WGA writer’s strike. The remaining cast and crew are admittedly upset at the stopped production but hopeful for a resolution and to get back to work. They’re standing with the WGA in solidarity. Given that half the movie has been shot already, the potential to be picked back up once the strike is over is high. 

Famous Five to be Adapted by BBC

A BBC three-part minis series has begun shooting for an adaptation of Enid Blyton’s Famous Five children’s book series. The series is 21 books in total, which feature three siblings, their cousin, and her dog in various action-packed adventures. The BBC has chosen Nicholas Winding Refn to direct. A directing choice that seems controversial for a classic children’s book series given his sex and violence-driven backlist of productions. However, many modern readers take issue with Blyton’s work, citing it as “social snobbery, racist, and sexist.”


“All my life I’ve fought vigorously to remain a child with a lust for adventure. By reimagining the Famous Five, I am preserving that notion by bringing these iconic stories to life for a progressive new audience, instilling the undefinable allure and enchantment of childhood for current and future generations to come.”

—Nicolas Winding Refn

Other Bookish News

Henry VII Doodles


We’ve all been there; we’ve gotten bored while in the middle of class, talking on the phone, what have you, and ended up doodling in the margins of our notebooks. One lucky scholar has found that Henry VII, British Monarch from 1509-1547, was no different. She found one of the monarch’s prayer books filled with doodles by the King himself. In his case, however, it appears these drawings and musing were written close to the end of his life and may indicate a disturbing outlook on his reign, perhaps that his ailing body was punishment for his actions.

Valiant Comic Partners with Alien Books

The dwindling publication Valiant Comics will now be under the Alien Books umbrella. Over the last year, publications from VC have been sparse, to say the least. In a bid to save the brand and continue the work, Alien Books will take over their characters and series. The goal is to grow the production of Valiant Comics through partnership and collaboration. 

“We remain fiercely committed to publishing Valiant comics and expanding our publishing line in ways we’ve never seen before. In partnership with Alien Books, we see an opportunity to push the boundaries of comic book publishing to help develop our incredible IP in exciting new ways for a rapidly expanding global audience.”

—Russ Brown, VC President of Consumer Products, Promotions, and Ad Sales

TikTok of Oral Poerty Floors Viewers

We’ve all seen oral poetry videos where passionate orators get on stage and emotionally devastate their audience. Their craft and skill are beautiful, hopefully making the difference in society it’s trying to highlight. In one session, Darius Simpson and Scout Bostley stand on stage and present one helluva dramatic performance. 


“I’ve been asked, ‘what makes you feel unsafe?’ And I struggle not to yell, ‘everything!’” #buttonpoetry #spokenword #poetrytok #fyp #poetrylover #poetryslam #booktok #booktokfyp #dariussimpson #scoutbostley

♬ original sound – Button Poetry – Button Poetry

What make’s it so special? Simpson, a black man, and Scout, a white woman, trade places physically and vocally. They passionately describe the hardships of being a woman and of being black. They play off each other while making their narrative more poignant.

Dolly Parton, The Willy Wonka of Children’s Literature


We cannot get enough of this woman; she is a national treasure. In another example of her continued literacy advocacy, Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library program will stow seven enchanted bookmarks within the pages of ILP’s September packages. These bookmarks, sent in honor of International Literacy Month, have the potential to reach children across five countries. Recipients will not only get to meet the county music superstar over a Zoom meeting, but will also receive a signed letter, photo, tickets to Dollywood, and a $2,000 donation to their local library.

Book Release

American Whitelash by Wesley Lowery

Released on June 27, Lowery’s novel discusses the racial backlash of the recent social and political gains of minorities by white politicians and citizens. He calls this American Whitelash. Lowery highlights the timeline of racial disparity in US history and the events that have led to the current outpouring of white supremacist actions as of late. This book is a call to action:


For political parties and their leaders, this moment presents a test of whether they remain willing to weaponize fear, knowing that it could result in tragedy.

For those of us in the press, it requires decisions about what rhetoric we platform in our pages and what we allow to go unchecked on our airwaves.

But most importantly, for all of us as citizens, this moment that we’re living through provides a choice: will we be, as we proclaimed at our founding, a nation for all?

—Wesley Lowery

Well, that wraps it up for this edition of Bookstr News Round; make sure to check out our other episodes! Click here for more!