Advocacy: Unite Against Book Bans
As National Library Week kicks off, the American Library Association has launched a new effort “to fight the rising tide of book challenges.”
Unite Against Book Bans is a national initiative to empower readers everywhere to stand together in the fight against censorship.
According to the ALA, a majority of Americans are opposed to book bans, but a vocal minority is currently dominating the national conversation.
A recent poll showed bipartisan opposition to book bans: 71 percent of voters oppose efforts to remove books from public libraries and 67% of voters oppose efforts to remove books from school libraries.
And yet, attempts to ban books from libraries are rising at an unprecedented level across the country. The American Library Association reported more than 729 attempted bans of 1,597 individual books in 2021 alone, according to the ALA.(Read the 10 top most challenged books below.)
Earlier this year, The Rural Assembly’s Whitney Kimball Coe wrote about her county’s experience with a book challenge and ban of the graphic novel “Maus.” Read her essay.
Our upcoming Rural Assembly Everywhere virtual gathering on May 10 and 11th will include a discussion of book bans from a rural lens. Register now for free.
Something to watch: On Thursday, April 7, at 10 a.m. ET, the House of Representatives’s Subcommittee on Civil Rights and Civil Liberties will host a hybrid hearing titled “Free Speech Under Attack: Book Bans and Academic Censorship.”
Most challenged books
- Gender Queer by Maia Kobabe
Reasons: Banned, challenged, and restricted for LGBTQIA+ content, and because it was considered to have sexually explicit images
- Lawn Boy by Jonathan Evison
Reasons: Banned and challenged for LGBTQIA+ content and because it was considered to be sexually explicit
- All Boys Aren’t Blue by George M. Johnson
Reasons: Banned and challenged for LGBTQIA+ content, profanity, and because it was considered to be sexually explicit
- Out of Darkness by Ashley Hope Perez
Reasons: Banned, challenged, and restricted for depictions of abuse and because it was considered to be sexually explicit
- The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
Reasons: Banned and challenged for profanity, violence, and because it was thought to promote an anti-police message and indoctrination of a social agenda
- The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie
Reasons: Banned and challenged for profanity, sexual references and use of a derogatory term
- Me and Earl and the Dying Girl by Jesse Andrews
Reasons: Banned and challenged because it was considered sexually explicit and degrading to women
- The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison
Reasons: Banned and challenged because it depicts child sexual abuse and was considered sexually explicit
- This Book is Gay by Juno Dawson
Reasons: Banned, challenged, relocated, and restricted for providing sexual education and LGBTQIA+ content.
- Beyond Magenta by Susan Kuklin
Reasons: Banned and challenged for LGBTQIA+ content and because it was considered to be sexually explicit.