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Read Banned Books

The process of banning books is not new.

For decades books have been censored for their presumed progressive cultural and political commentary, explorations of the LGBTQIA+ community, and stories by and about POC that push our comfortable boundaries about their life experience.

The American Library Association has reported a massive uptick in the number of books being banned across the United States in recent years, and the number continues to increase now in 2023.

The innevitable banning of a book does not have complete negative reprecussions. Often times, the banning of a book encourages younger audiences to seek it out. Find out what all the fuss is about.

But the massive problem with book banning is the restrictive access it puts on students who do not have the means to venture outside of their school libraries.

The library in my elementary school, middle school, and high school, were havens for me.

In elementary school, I relished our library days. I loved going in to the safe, brightly colored, carpeted room and anxiously checking all of the covers displayed on the shelves.

In middle school, the library gave me freedom. I poured over the spines of chapter books and discovered a love for historical fiction (thank you, Dear America books!), fantasy (yes, I loved Harry Potter!), and queer experiences (check out the Make Lemonade collection!).

High school library sessions were mainly spent doing research in the time of bibliographies and before Google. But the library was open. It was safe. It was inclusive.

Banning a book does not erase the story. It does not erase the authors experience. But it makes it harder for those stories to be shared and experienced.

Below are some of our favorite banned titles and the accusations hurled against them.

The Color Purple by Alice Walker

  • LGBTQIA+ representation

  • Religious objections

  • Black history

  • Sexual violence

Why it's important?

  • A feminist representation of empowering female characters

  • Representation of the experience of Black men and women

  • Queer love and representation

Charlotte's Web by E.B. White

  • Themes of death

  • Fern speaks to her animals

Why it's important?

  • Teaches the importance of friendship, loyalty, and respect

  • Even if you don't win at something, you can still be extraordinary

  • Kindness and fair treatment of animals

  • How to process grief

A Wrinkle in Time by Madeline L'Engle

  • Undermines Religion

  • Inappropriate female friendships

  • A young, "plucky" female protagonist

Why it's important?

  • Highlights the important battle of good vs. evil

  • A young and respected female protagonist

  • Importance of friendship and trust

Maus by Art Spiegelman

  • Violence

  • Profanity

  • To ignore and deny the Holocaust

Why it's important?

  • Through the lens of a graphic novel, Maus allows young readers to see the horrors of the Holocaust through the lens of humanoid mice

  • Promotes discussions of equality, mistreatment, and history

Angus, Thongs, and Full Frontal Snogging by Louise Rennison

  • Sexual content

  • LGBTQIA+ Representation

  • Periods (yes, the menstruation kind!)

Why it's important?

  • Female sexuality and expression

  • LGBTQIA+ Representation

  • Puberty through the safe lens of humor

Please check out The American Library Association and their efforts to combat the banning of books and donate to your local library today!

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