PEN AMERICA NEEDS YOUR HELP TO #FREETHEBOOKS
In classrooms, school districts, and libraries across the country, the freedom to read is under assault by restrictions and bans on books.
Even as Florida Gov. DeSantis claimed book bans are a “nasty hoax,” dozens of books were removed from shelves in Martin County, Florida. For more on why shelves are empty, read our explainer on what’s happening in Florida. Book bans are a problem throughout the country. Our landmark Banned in the USA report found 2,532 instances of individual books being banned, affecting 1,648 unique book titles in the 2021-22 school year.
Join us to #FreeTheBooks by taking action and making your voice heard.
- Join PEN America in telling Martin County, Florida to put books back on shelves.
- Add your name to the growing band of activists working and striving to protect the written word.
- Stay informed of new threats and learn how you can help fight censorship by signing up for PEN America’s newsletter about educational censorship.
- Become a member of PEN America and join a dedicated community readers, writers, and free speech defenders.
FOR STUDENTS AND PARENTS
Are you a student whose school or library has proposed or already removed or restricted access to books?
- Report book bans in your community here, and get in touch with our experts.
- Our tip sheet, How to Fight Book Bans, has steps you can take to organize readers, writers, and educators in your community and fight back against bans, gag orders, and restrictions.
- Learn more about our Free Expression Advocacy Institutes, PEN America’s signature educational and training programs which are designed to provide students with innovative opportunities to learn about and take action on free expression issues in the United States and worldwide.
- Help other learn about book bans by sharing our book bans FAQ.
Are you an author whose book has been restricted, banned, or threatened for removal?
- Start with our tip sheet for authors, So, Your Book Has Been Challenged.
- Stay in touch with PEN America and other writers who believe in the power of free speech by becoming a professional member today.
- Download this sign and post a photo of yourself holding it with the hashtag #FreeTheBooks to show you cherish the right to read.
- Follow PEN America on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and TikTok for updates on the latest news in attempts to restrict the freedom to read.
The 2022-23 school year has been marked to date by an escalation of book bans and censorship in classrooms and school libraries across the United States. PEN America recorded more book bans during the fall 2022 semester than in each of the prior two semesters.
PEN America’s latest report on book bans, Banned in the USA: The Growing Movement to Censor Books in Schools, explores the forces behind localized efforts to target books.
PEN America’s latest report on educational gag orders, America’s Censored Classrooms, analyzes the landscape of educational censorship as of August 2022 and predicts the future of these punitive assaults on education.
In recent years PEN America has typically encountered a handful of such cases each year. The findings in this report demonstrate a profound increase in both the number of books banned and the intense focus on books that relate to communities of color and LGBTQ+ subjects over the past nine months.
READ BANNED BOOKS
Books are disappearing from library shelves and being decreed off-limits by school boards, legislators, and private citizens. PEN America tracks book bans in libraries and classrooms across America in our Index of School Book Bans, updated weekly.
This list spotlights 78 of the most banned books in America (at least 4 times from libraries and classrooms). Books by authors of color, LGBT+ authors, and women. Books about racism, sexuality, gender, and history.
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