Which titles are being targeted and why

  • More books are being challenged or banned than ever before.
  • LGBTQ books account for a third of all attempted bans.
  • Some conservative politicians are leading the attack.
  • Libraries are fighting back and expanding access to books.

Banned books are not new, but they have gained new relevance in an escalating culture war that is endangering books about racism, sexuality and gender identity in public schools and libraries.

A dramatic increase in the number of challenged books in the past year, and an escalation in censorship tactics, have regularly made headlines in attempts to ban books. Potential book banners claim that readers can still buy books they can no longer access through public libraries, but that only applies to those with the financial means to do so. For many, especially children and young adults, schools and public libraries are the only way to access literature.

Checking facts:James Patterson said white men face “racism” at publishing houses. What do the book sales say?

What is a book ban?

When a book has been successfully “banned,” it means that a book has been removed from school curricula and/or public libraries because an individual or group has objected to its content.

Attempting to remove a book is called a challenge. Most public schools and libraries have boards composed of elected officials (or people appointed by elected officials) who have the power to remove books from the schools and libraries they oversee.

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