Banned From Shelves, Does Texas Ban the Most Books?
Texas leads the nation in the number of banned books that have been taken out of schools and public libraries this year.
According to the Texas Tribune, the analysis by PEN America, a non-profit organization that advocates for free speech, claims the banned books cover a variety of subjects such as racism, race, abortion, and LGBTQ representation.
The report stated that 801 books across 22 school districts and 174 titles have been banned between July 2021 and June 2022. A ban defined by PEN America is any action taken against a book based on contents challenged by parents or lawmakers.
The books most commonly removed were “Gender Queer: A Memoir” by Maia Kobabe, “The Bluest Eye” by Toni Morrison; “Roe v. Wade: A Woman's Choice?” by Susan Dudley Gold; “Out of Darkness” by Ashley Hope Pérez, and “All Boys Aren’t Blue” by George M. Johnson.
“This censorious movement is turning our public schools into political battlegrounds, driving wedges within communities, forcing teachers and librarians from their jobs, and casting a chill over the spirit of open inquiry and intellectual freedom that underpin a flourishing democracy,” said Suzanne Nossel, PEN America’s chief executive officer in a statement.
Florida and Pennsylvania followed Texas as states with the most banned books with 566 books banned in Florida and 457 books in Pennsylvania. Most of the bans in Pennsylvania were from York County, a more conservative part of the state.
“This rapidly accelerating movement has resulted in more and more students losing access to literature that equips them to meet the challenges and complexities of democratic citizenship,” said Jonathan Friedman, director of PEN America’s free expression and education programs and the lead author of the report in a statement.
PEN America also found that the bans across the country have been fueled by groups claiming they are "pornographic" or promote "CRT."