Monday, October 3, 2022

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‘Handmaid’s Tale’, ‘Girls Who Code’ and other books just banned in the US

Some of the greatest titles in classic and modern literature have been banned from schools and libraries across the United States, including The Handmaid’s Tale, Girls Who Code, and more.

PEN America, an organization that champions freedom of expression in literature, recently updated the National Index that lists all books banned during the 2021-22 school year.

The index was released Monday, at the start of Banned Books Week, and lists 1,648 titles that have been banned in the United States this year, not including titles that have been repeated in multiple states. The index also acknowledged that books may have been banned without being registered. According to the report, the books have been banned in 5,049 schools with a combined enrollment of nearly 4 million students in 32 states.

About 41% of banned books on the index deal with LGBTQ+ themes or have LGBTQ+ characters. About 40% of books feature characters of color and 21% of banned books deal with issues of race and racism.

According to PEN America, Texas and Florida ranked first and second among states with the most bans; Texas with 80,000 boos in 22 districts and Florida with 566 in 21 districts.

In Texas, some of the biggest titles banned in school districts included:

Some of the biggest titles currently banned in Florida:

Other states, such as Oklahoma, have banned these books, among others:

Other books banned in some school districts included Lights, Music, Code! (Girls Who Code series) by Jo Whittemore, Extremely loud and incredibly close by Safran Jonathan Foer, normal people by Sally Rooney They called themselves the KKK: the birth of an American terrorist group by Susan Campbell Bartoletti, and Peter Pan by James Matthew Barrie.

PEN America President and CEO Suzanne Nossel said in a recent press release, “While we view book bans as the work of concerned citizens, our report demonstrates that today’s wave of bans Today represents a coordinated campaign to ban books led by sophisticated, ideological and well-resourced advocacy organizations.”

Nossel told a press conference on Monday: “We can all agree that parents deserve and have the right to have a say in their children’s education. It’s absolutely essential. But fundamentally, this is not what it is about when parents are mobilized in an orchestrated campaign with intimate teachers and librarians to force certain books to be taken off the shelves before they have even been read or reviewed .”

Some students and educators are fighting against book bans, however. A group of students in Texas started a book club centered on novels that were banned from their libraries or classrooms, and some librarians refused to remove displays containing banned books from their libraries.

Nossel referred Pleasemynews to some advice PEN America offers for students interested in fighting book bans, and said, “We want students to recognize that they have a stake in fighting for their rights under the Constitution and the freedom to read .”

Pleasemynews contacted the National Coalition Against Censorship for comment.

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