When Schools Ban Books : 1A – NPR

Across the country, parents are challenging the books their kids have access to in the classroom. Increasingly, those books are about race. MAURO PIMENTEL/AFP via Getty Images hide caption
Across the country, parents are challenging the books their kids have access to in the classroom. Increasingly, those books are about race.
In late October, Republican Texas state legislator Matt Krause wrote a letter to the Texas Education Agency asking it to look into how 850 books are being used in state schools. According to a breakdown of Krause’s list from Book Riot, about two-thirds of the books explore LGBT storylines or feature LGBT characters. Another 15 percent or so could be categorized as sexual education. About 8 percent discuss race and racism.
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott joined Krause’s efforts this week, sending his own letter to the Texas Education Agency asking it and other agencies “to immediately develop statewide standards to prevent the presence of pornography and other obscene content in Texas public schools, including in school libraries.”
While the censorship of some books in schools is nothing new, a growing number of challenges are against books about race. In her reporting on the topic, KERA reporter Miranda Suarez spoke to Deborah Caldwell-Stone who leads the American Library Association’s Office for Intellectual Freedom. Caldwell-Stones said, “We went from a situation where the majority of books being challenged and removed in schools and libraries dealt with LGBTQ themes, to a situation where there’s a real mix.”
Pushback on certain books isn’t limited to Texas. In late September, cartoonist Maia Kobabe found out that parents were complaining about eir book, “Gender Queer”, in school libraries after being tagged in an Instagram video from a city council meeting. Kobabe wrote about what happened for The Washington Post
We look into which books are being challenged and why. Then we sit down with the authors of three of those books for their perspectives.
Miranda Suarez, Laurie Halse Anderson, Maia Kobabe, and Jacqueline Woodson join us for the conversation.
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