Book bans are increasing in numbers, so it is important to show our support
for the authors being silenced. A 2022 study done by WordsRated
found a 60.99% percent increase in requests to ban a book from 2021, which is a total of 2,571 unique titles that were targeted. According to a
report from PEN America, “an organization dedicated to protecting
free expression in literature”, book bans affected 138 school districts in
32 states throughout the 2021-2022 school year.
Legislation making it easier to ban books is increasing nationally,
specifically within Iowa. With the new laws in effect, it is important to stay educated on your rights and empower banned content. In this political climate, we must celebrate banned books and fight against the restriction of free speech. Iowa authors must come together and support each other’s work.
Illinois has passed a law making it harder to ban books, and so should every
other state. Following their lead, other state legislators should protect
librarians and free speech by passing similar laws.
In other areas of the country, book banning is becoming an epidemic. People are banning books without a valid reason. If people don’t agree with content within a book, they simply ban it. It is sad, threatening free speech, and needs to stop.
Common themes being banned include books with LGBTQ+ characters and themes, witchcraft, or violence. It is important to speak up and celebrate banned books.
Titles like “Looking for Alaska” by John Green were on the American Library Association‘s most-banned books list in 2022. Reading these books will show people in power that banned books have an audience and a place on our shelves.
Additionally, there are some outrageous banned books. For example, “The Holy Bible” and “Captain Underpants” are banned. Knowing what books are banned is both informative and sometimes enjoyable when you can laugh over the ridiculousness of it.
What groups are doing
My book club recently read “Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe” in celebration of Banned Book Week. This is a great idea for any book club because it helps celebrate banned authors and helps readers examine what content is being banned.
Banned Book Week is from October first through October seventh. Many libraries celebrate this week too. For example, Cowles Library at Drake University puts up a display and hosts a panel on banned books. Going to events like these shows legislators that we don’t want censorship. It shows we stand behind banned authors.
What can you do?
There are many ways people can help and many ways to fight for free speech and against censorship. Posting on social media and donating to the right organizations.
Writers should become educated about their rights and how to educate about how to advocate for free speech and their books. Organizations like Unite Against Book Bans are great groups to get behind because they protect people’s freedom to read by educating and empowering readers.
Additionally, shopping at local bookstores is a great way to support local authors and banned books.
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