This year marks the 40th anniversary of Banned Books Week, September 12-24. Banned Books Week celebrates open and free access to information. The theme was: “Books unite us. Censorship divides us. Some titles on Top 10 most difficult books The list includes, “Gender Queer: A Memoir”, “Lawn Boy”, “All Boys Aren’t Blue” and “The Hate You Give”. The most contested books have the same themes, including race, gender identity and sexuality, with most titles written for young adults and children.
Created in 1982 After a sudden increase in book challenges in schools, libraries and bookstores, this year saw the highest number of challenged books since the American Library Association, ALA, began tracking such attempts. With over 1,651 books contested so far this year, Banned Books Week aims to bring Pay attention to the current censorship efforts being fought by schools, libraries and bookstores.
The common point between forbidden books
At a time when anti-LGBTQIA+ bills like the “Don’t Say Gay” are enacted by elected officials, some of the most contested books contain positive LGBTQIA+ themes and books with discussions of race or sexuality aimed at younger readers.
“When you go through the list [of banned books] to make our public listing for the catalog i noticed we have alot of new YA [young adult] things are off limits for discussing sexuality or race. We don’t normally see that with adult fiction,” said Caroline Coriell, reference and instructional librarian at Cabrini. “There’s definitely more emphasis on what kids are reading.”
It is common for books written for high school and college students to be challenged by parents, elected officials, other members of a community, and even outside organizations. However, books for children from primary and preschool age are also on the list.
A children’s book about two male penguins, based on the true story of Central Park Zoo penguins Roy and Silo, has been released online. ALA Top 10 the most disputed books list eight times in total since its publication in 2005.
“We have ‘And Tango Makes Three’, which is one of the banned books. It’s about two male penguins raising an egg. It’s a children’s book, you know, very light and fluffy. He doesn’t go into explicit detail about anything,” Coriell said. “He’s just a penguin who has two dads and really pisses people off.”
“I find it very discouraging that we’re specifically banning books that just have, say, same-sex parents,” said Hannah Boone, junior education major and vice president of Educators for Equity and Social Justice, EESJ, on the campus. “It’s very discouraging. I don’t think people understand how passionate some people are about getting rid of those books at school, especially given the don’t say gay bill. The effects of this are now impacting teachers in Florida who can’t even have photos of their families. »
An unwelcoming environment for students
The culture wars continue as parents, educators and school districts fight to include topics such as sexuality, race and gender in schools. Consequently, this leads to a large amount of contested and eventually banned books in schools. But how does this battle affect the education of students who must adapt to its consequences?
“People’s families all come in different shapes and sizes, so representation in the books is important, especially at such a young age,” Boone said. “Otherwise you’re going to have kids in your class who don’t feel welcome, they don’t feel included or represented, and it’s going to make them feel like they don’t belong in the school and they don’t feel like they belong in the school. part of them has to be undressed while they’re at school.
Boone said: “Books are banned for a certain reason, but the purpose of schools is to educate people without basing themselves on anyone’s prejudices, just to educate future generations and give them knowledge and facts, not to influence their opinions in any way. ”
As part of the EESJ at Cabrini, Boone and the other members provide a safe space where students can come together and discuss issues in the education system to ensure lasting change has local impact, on or off campus.
“We are currently hosting a back-to-school supply drive to benefit a school in Philadelphia that nearly closed last year. These children therefore need appropriate school supplies to be able to succeed. If you don’t have notebooks, pens or pencils, how are you supposed to work towards academic excellence? Boon said.
When students feel supported, represented, and have the appropriate supplies, then they have a learning environment where they can grow and develop their own ideas and sense of who they are.
Boone said, “Representation and inclusion is so important regardless of sexual orientation and gender identity, gender identity, race, background, culture.”
The Holy Spirit Library’s interactive banned books display will be open until October 30.
The EESJ is open to all students. They will be collecting school supplies until October 11.