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Opinion | Why Everybody Digs Book Bannings

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Like El Niño and solar flares, the impulse to ban books seems to be a cyclical force of nature. In ordinary times, book bannings surge and then, like clockwork, recede away like floodwaters. But these are not normal times. Over the past nine months, we’ve entered a book banning era like none other in our country’s history. Between July 2021 and the end of March 2022, an astounding 1,586 book bannings took place in 86 school districts in 26 states, according to a comprehensive PEN America study. Texas, natch, led the pack, with Pennsylvania and Florida taking second and third. And that’s only the bannings PEN America is aware of. Likely more exist.

But book bannings account for only one element of the upwelling. Since the beginning of the year, 175 educational gag order bills have been introduced or prefiled in 40 states to censor teachers. Of these, 15 have become law in 13 states, PEN America reports, and the primary targets of the bills are high schools and higher ed, with 139 of the bills written to throttle those institutions.

There are several reasons behind the book banning boom. LGBTQ literature, graphic novels and sexually explicit books, which have become more popular in recent years, garner the most challenges from parents and activists who want them removed from libraries and school systems. For many parents, newish books like Gender Queer by Maia Kobabe and The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas are fresh affronts to their already challenged........

© Politico

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