Some books being frequently targeted for removal from public schools
From the Kent School District in Washington to the Polk County Schools in Florida, conservative parents and politicians are demanding that schools remove or ban books, most of which deal with gender, racism, racial identity, sexuality and LGBTQ issues. In October, a Texas Republican state legislator released a list of 850 books that he wanted investigated and potentially banned. Such challenges to books haven’t been seen since the 1980s and this new phenomenon is marked by its politicization, say some experts.
While some titles — "The Bluest Eye," "To Kill a Mockingbird" and "In the Night Kitchen" — are perennially challenged, new titles have emerged like "The 1619 Project" and "Maus" along with numerous books dealing with gay and transgender topics. You can read VoxPopuli's Stephana Ferrell pieces about Orange County Public Schools actions here and here regarding challenged books. And, just to the south, in Polk County, a conservative group wants to ban 16 books from the public schools there. The titles, which have been removed from the shelves, will now be reviewed by the school district.
The covers of 18 books above have been in the news recently and are representative of the wider circle of challenged books. CLICK on any book image above to read about why that title is being challenged and, in some cases, where and its status. You can also read about challenged books and censorship from the American Library Association, National Coalition Against Censorship, The Comic Book Legal Defense Fund, National Council of Teachers of English, Banned Books Week Coalition and PEN America.
We encourage you to write a letter to the editor about your feelings regarding banned books and if you have any information about challenges to titles in our coverage area, please contact us.