New report finds a rapid rise in attempted book bans : NPR

Your blue eyes, your hate and Queer, There and Everywhere is one of the books that has faced a nationwide ban.

Meghan Collins Sullivan / NPR

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Meghan Collins Sullivan / NPR

Your blue eyes, your hate and Queer, There and Everywhere is one of the books that has faced a nationwide ban.

Meghan Collins Sullivan / NPR

During the 2021-22 school year, more than 1,600 titles were banned, according to a new report by the group PEN America, which advocates for free speech.

According to the report, the increase in the book ban was the result of a network of local political and advocacy groups targeting books with LGBTQ+ plots and characters as well as books related to LGBTQ+ plots and characters. colored characters.

“While we consider book bans the job of the individual citizens involved, our report demonstrates that today’s wave of book bans represents a coordinated campaign,” said Suzanne Nossel, chief executive officer. to banish books carried out by well-resourced, thought-provoking and sophisticated advocacy organisations”. officer of PEN USA.

In April, officials in Madison County, Mississippi placed more than 20 books under “restricted circulation.” These books include Queer, There, & Everywhere by Sarah Prager, The hate you give By Angie Thomas, and Blue eyes by Toni Morrison. This happened after pressure from the mass resistance activist group, listed by SPLC is anti-LGBTQ.

Similar stories, cited in the report, are happening across the country. According to the report, Texas topped the list of states with the most bans. PEN US describes a book ban as “any action taken against a book based on its content”, due to challenges coming from parents, community groups or politicians. .

PEN USA has identified at least 50 working groups at the local, state, and national levels advocating for the removal of books from school curricula and school library shelves. According to reports, this is a relatively recent incident. Many groups, such as Moms for Liberty, start in 2021.

The American Library Association also released a report late last week showing that book challenges continue to mount. Based on their records, 1,651 unique titles were targeted between January and August of this year – in 681 attempts to ban or restrict library resources. ALA’s Office of Intellectual Freedom counted 729 challenges to library, school and university documentation in all of 2021 – quadrupled from the previous year.

The ALA also points out that more conservative political groups are pushing to ban books in schools and libraries around the country. As the ALA reports, actions from these groups have largely focused on YA books related to race, gender, and sexual identity – echoing the findings from the US PEN study.

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