Residents concerned that upcoming Daytona Beach book fair could offer banned books

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. — The mayor of Daytona Beach is defending his city-sponsored book fair after some residents and at least one commissioner raised concerns about the event being politically motivated.


The flyer shared by Mayor Derrick Henry shows the fair will be held at the Dickerson Center this Saturday. It is the same location displayed as a stop on The New Republic’s Banned Book Tour’s website.

Mayor Henry said he was approached by the Florida Education Association, which is the state’s largest teachers union, to partner in the event.

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“We are viewing this as an opportunity to promote literacy. To get kids out to have a big party, to give them an opportunity to jump in a bounce house, eat a hot dog, to read a book. To encourage parents to read books to their kids,” said Henry.

Some residents were reluctant to support the cause.

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“If it’s banned books, why are we showing it to our public?” said Daytona Beach resident Horrace Anderson.

Daytona Beach City Commissioner Stacy Cantu shared a statement with Channel 9:

I would like my statement on record regarding the city flyer Book Giveaway Saturday, October 7 sponsored by Mayor Derrick Henry & the City of Daytona Beach.

After receiving an email from a constituent regarding the book fair, and some research it seems to be misleading and politically driven and motivated as a Banned Books Tour.

I’ve addressed my concerns to our city attorney that the City of Daytona Beach should not be participating in what appears to be a political event.

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Daytona Beach Commissioner Monica Paris also released the following statement to Channel 9:

When I heard from residents about opposition on the banned bookmobile listed on the event flyer I had to do some research because I had not heard of it.

After going on the banned bookmobile website, Campaigns.moveon.org, I was very concerned because it is stating that it is a federal political committee.  

On the site It also stated opposition to a specific elected official and political party.

This is very divisive and not something I believe should be a city-sponsored event or promoted in our community.  I spoke on it during a discussion at our commission meeting last night.

The residents brought it to my attention and I agree that the banned bookmobile should not be in attendance at this event but I am only 1 vote out of 7.

If books were removed from the Volusia County school library they have gone through the standard procedure at the school board level and were removed for a specific reason.  

These so-called “banned” books are still available in our public libraries.

Children have access to so much information today which if it is not age-appropriate it can do a lot of harm.  I can’t see how advocating to get your hands on “banned” books, as it has been catchphrased, would be beneficial to them.

While I can appreciate the effort to promote literacy and access to books I can’t support the banned bookmobile participation.  

I wish it was stated more clearly that the banned bookmobile is scheduled to be at this event so that people are free to choose it they want to attend or not. I’d hate for them to be in an uncomfortable position.

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