A new report from PEN America – a nonprofit focused on defending the right to freedom of expression in literature, journalism, and education – shows the momentum of book bans across the nation is growing.
PEN America found a total of 1,648 individual books have been banned since June.
PEN America’s new report shows: “Between July 2021 and June 2022, there were 2,532 attempted book bans targeting 1,648 unique books… texts being challenged are overwhelmingly those written by or about people of color or LGBTQ individuals.” #FreeTheBooks https://t.co/sMZ8ZJ0giI
— PEN America (@PENamerica) September 19, 2022
From The Hill:
Those banned titles were written by 1,261 different authors, 290 illustrators and 18 translators.
The organization has tallied 2,532 instances of individual books being banned across the country between June of this year and June of 2021.
Out of those books, 674 titles, or 41 percent of all banned books, have an LGBTQ+ protagonist or secondary character or focus on LGBTQ+ themes. Another 659 titles, or 40 percent, have a protagonist or prominent secondary character of color, and 338 banned books, or 21 percent, talk about issues of race or racism.
These bans have occurred in 138 school districts across 32 states, but three states makeup an overwhelming majority of the banning activity: Pennsylvania, Florida, and Texas.
CNN reports that there are at least 50 groups operating at the national, state, or local level that advocate for bans in K-12 schools.
Ranging from Facebook groups to established conservative organizations, the majority appear to have been founded within the last year.
Read more here.
Some interesting bits from this story:
-41% of banned books nationwide feature LGBTQ themes or characters.
-40% feature characters of color.
-Florida is second only to Texas in the number of book bans over the last year (566 in 21 districts). https://t.co/RkW0tN43Vj
— Kathryn Varn (@kathrynvarn) September 19, 2022
— Catherine Rampell (@crampell) September 19, 2022