Recently there has been a massive spike in book banning throughout the United States. What we have first seen in Tennessee with the banning of the graphic novel Maus which quickly spread to Texas is only growing increasingly worse as time goes on. Political leaders in Texas have been pushing bills to have “inappropriate material” removed from school libraries. These attacks on students choice in reading material has led to both students and the librarians of these areas alike to fight back against the unjust book banning.
What Books Are Being Targeted?
The striking commonality between all of the books that are being targeted in the ban is that they all involve topics on sexuality, gender identity, race and racism. Katy, Texas has certainly become the focus of this unbelievable book ban, but isn’t the only place of concern. State Rep. Matt Krause and Governor Greg Abbott have labeled over 850 books throughout Texas school libraries as being “harmful” or even “pornographic” to children. Of all the books being banned some include: Out of Darkness, Jack of Hearts: and Other Parts, All Boys Aren’t Blue, and Cinderella is Dead, all of which deal specifically with LGBTQ+ characters, and most contain protagonists who are people of color.
What Are People Doing About It?
On the student side of things, a number of students have organized banned book clubs within the school to discuss the bans themselves as well as the books in question. These organized meetings have also been met with agitation from the conservative parents and lawmakers for continuing to bring up the banned material in the school setting. Many students feel personally attacked by these bans given that their removal is because of the racial, sexual orientation, and gender topics that are discussed, as it is their identity being deemed as inappropriate.
In addition to these student led book clubs, Texas school librarians they are taking things a step further by forming a coalition called Texans for the Right to Read to help combat the unjust book banning’s. Those involved have made it their mission to put an end to these bans as they are not only an unethical removal of students freedom to explore literature but also an attack on students learning as a whole.
Mary Woodard the Texas Library Association President-Elect has gone so far as to call out the attacks as being “about winning votes at the ballot box.” rather than for the sake of actual children. As of right now the coalition is still forming, but Texas librarians and students alike are ready to take a stand against the bans.