These days it might feel like everyone is talking about book bans, from the U.S. president to the PTA. That’s because these bans are happening all over our country, and affecting every community. Whether it’s a ban in a school, a bookstore, or a public library, these bans affect us all, so it’s important to learn about these book bans and why they are happening. 

Ok, so what exactly are these book bans all about? Despite the fact that 80% of Americans oppose banning books, in the last few years extremists have become laser focused on trying to control what our kids can read. It’s not enough to just tell their child to not read a book – under the guise of “parents’ rights,” they want to stop all kids from reading certain books. And it’s not because these books are actually dangerous or harmful. It’s because they are written by or about people of color or the LGBTQ+ community or they discuss things extremists don’t want kids to learn about, like accurate American history, sexual education, mental health, even climate change! 

Who is banning books? Are you ready for a really crazy statistic? It turns out that just 11 people are behind nearly all banned or challenged books in the US! In many cases, just one person can get dozens of books banned, simply by filing a complaint – even if they haven’t read the literature. They don’t even have to be a local parent or member of the community to do it. This is why the same books tend to get banned across several communities – well-funded, national groups posing as grassroots organizations are targeting these books. 

How are our kids impacted by book bans? First, we want to make sure it’s clear these books are being banned and challenged under false pretenses. Age-appropriate books are being pulled from shelves every day for misleading reasons with really harmful consequences. Not having access to these books prevents kids from better understanding the world around them and better understanding themselves, making them less prepared for the real world. We are not helping our kids by banning teaching accurate American history, by erasing LGBTQ people from our schools, or by eliminating comprehensive sex education curriculum.

Want more info? Check out the map below from American Library Association or click here to see a map from Pen America of where books are being banned and why.