Read Banned Books

Written by: Amber Baldwin

Recently there has been much talk about banned books. “Last fall, a Texas legislator launched an investigation into 850 books as he argued “might make students feel discomfort, guilt, anguish, or any other form of psychological distress because of their race or sex,” including The Legal Atlas of the United States and Shirley Jackson’s “The Lottery,” according to

Library employees from Wyoming almost had charges against them for putting out the books Sex Is a Funny Word and This Book Is Gay.

The Oklahoma State Senate introduced a bill that would stop public school libraries from carrying books on gender identity, sexual activity, and sexual identity.

The McMinn County Board of Education in Tennessee decided to take the novel, Maus, out of the eighth-grade Holocaust unit.

In Pennsylvania, a school district banned  LGBTQ classic Heather Has Two Mommies from school libraries.

Cita Press stated, “Banning books is dangerous. It is the most common form of censorship in the U.S. The lived realities of young people are varied and complex. Book bans limit access to ideas and information and codify discrimination, which harms students, educators, and communities.”

Books being banned isn’t something new. Hearing about new books being banned happens often. Suzanne Nossel, CEO of the free speech organization PEN America stated, “this year she finds herself hearing from different authors by the day about their books being banned” which is nothing new to her.

However, it seems that instead of controversial topics the focus on the bans is more about “a specific kind of content, seen as teaching children, especially white children, that there’s something wrong with America,” stated Adam Laats, a historian who studies the history of American education.

“And the bans, too, are much more forceful than they’ve been before. Some are an individual school board deciding to pull something from a curriculum or take it out of the library. But there are also much more sweeping pieces of legislation that are being introduced that purport to ban whole categories of books. And that’s definitely something new,” Nossel said in the Vox article.

According to the American Library Association, the top five banned books from 2020 include George by Alex Gino, Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You by Ibram X. Kendi and Jason Reynolds, All American Boys by Jason Reynolds and Brendan Kiely, Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson, and The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie.

Since it is Black History Month, the top five banned books by Black authors include The Color Purple by Alice Walker, The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison, Go Tell It on the Mountain by James Baldwin, Native Son by Richard Wright, and The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *