New round of books being vetted by district Literary Advisory Committee

The volunteer collection of teachers, staff, parents, and community members vets books for possible addition to the curriculum


Students, like Lucino Becerril, read every day in classes. The Literary Advisory Committee ensures they are reading the best material.

Over the last year “The Perks of Being a Wallflower,” “The Hate U Give,” and “Watchmen” have been recommended for instructional use in the classroom.

This is all part of the district’s efforts to diversify the works of literature being offered to students. In 2020, after a controversial battle over the inclusion of Toni Morrison’s novel “The Bluest Eye” resulted in the removal and re-addition of the text from the district’s approved reading list, the district came to the realization that part of the problem was a lack of quality novels written by a diverse writers from which teachers could choose for instruction.

In the aftermath of the controversy, the district made significant changes to its Literary Advisory Committee (LAC).

Recently, the LAC initiated a new round of titles for review for the first half of the 2021-2022 school year. Those titles include “Call Me American” by Abdi Nor Iftin, “The Glass Menagerie” by Tennessee Williams, “The Martian” by Andy Weir, and “The Disappearing Spoon” by Sam Keane.

The LAC is a sub committee of the Colton Joint Unified School District’s Secondary Curriculum Council. Around since the 1990’s, they are a sub committee that reviews suggestions for literary works to add to district curriculum.

Anyone can request a title be added to the approved district reading list, including teachers, parents, and even students. Once a title has been recommended for review, the LAC brings together a group of reviewers to determine if the work is instructionally appropriate to approve. 

The LAC is made up of teachers, parents, classified staff (library techs, resource aides, secretaries, etc.), and community members. According to the California Department of Education, the review team must include a cross-section of people in the community being served. Even students can participate on this committee, although it is not required to have students participate.

Participants on the LAC are given a timeline to read the work, write up a set of notes, and participate in a group discussion in order to determine whether or not to submit the book for approval to the distant Secondary Curriculum Council.

Secondary Curriculum Council considers the LAC’s recommendations and put them to a vote to move the recommendations on to approval by the school board. Only the school board has the power to approve curriculum for use in the school district.

Currently the LAC has about 30 consistent members among teachers, classified staff, parents, and community members.

However, they are constantly recruiting new members. They have a Google form open for volunteers in both English and Spanish.