PEN AMERICA NEEDS YOUR HELP.
In classrooms and libraries across the country, the freedom to read is under assault by restrictions and bans on books. PEN America has documented nearly 6,000 instances of individual books being banned since the fall of 2021 in our book ban research series Banned in the USA. In the 2022-2023 school year alone, 1,557 unique titles were affected. Join us to #FreeTheBooks by taking action below and making your voice heard. You can also support our book ban work by donating today.
Fight for the Freedom to Read in Florida
Florida now has the highest number of book bans in the US. Join with bestselling authors to fight these censorious efforts.
Urge Congress to Protect the Freedom to Learn
With a 33% increase in book bans over the last two school years, we need our national leaders to join us in the fight the freedom to learn. Urge Congress to support H.Res. 733/S. Res. 372 and stand up against censorship in America’s public schools.
Tell Florida: 'Don't Say Gay' Doesn't Apply to School Libraries
We joined free expression allies in alerting Florida schools to legal filings by the state’s Attorney General that the “Don’t Say Gay” law doesn’t apply to school libraries. Add your voice by sending an email to the Florida Department of Education commissioner, Manny Diaz, Jr., urging him to tell schools the law doesn’t apply to school libraries.
Restore Access to Knowledge in Iowa
After PEN America and other groups brought attention to the Urbandale, Iowa, school district’s directions to remove nearly 400 titles from schools, the district dropped its objections to more than 300 of the books but kept its objection to books including Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale, John Green’s The Fault in Our Stars, Zora Neale Hurston’s Their Eyes Were Watching God, Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World and James Joyce’s Ulysses. Join us in asking Urbandale Schools to restore access to knowledge for their students.
Diverse Stories Belong On School Shelves
The Pinellas County school district recently decided to hold 87 titles for “further review.” These books predominately include stories by Black, Latine, Native, Asian, Muslim, and LGBTQIA+ authors. Join We Need Diverse Books, PEN America, the Florida Freedom to Read Project, and authors and illustrators who are deeply concerned that books by marginalized authors are overwhelmingly affected by purported “reviews.” Ask Pinellas County Schools to cancel the upcoming Library Media Review and examine the guidance and procedures that caused this list of diverse and celebrated list of books to be singled out.
WE CLIMB THIS HILL TOGETHER
Amanda Gorman’s book of the poem, The Hill We Climb, was recently removed from elementary school shelves in Miami Lakes, FL, based on the complaint of a single individual who claims the poem “is not educational and have indirectly hate messages.” Also, the ABC’s of Black History by Rio Cortez, Love to Langston by Tony Medina, and Cuban Kids by George Ancona were also removed from school shelves. Tell Miami-Dade County Schools Superintendent and the administrators at the Bob Graham Educational Center that Amanda’s inaugural poem most certainly belongs on all school shelves.
Donations from activists like you provide the essential resources we need to defend the freedom to write worldwide. Please consider making a donation in support of this vital work. Thank you.
PEN America, Penguin Random House, and a diverse group of authors have joined with parents and students from Escambia County, Florida, to file a federal lawsuit challenging removals and restrictions of books from school libraries that violate their rights to free speech and equal protection under the law.
- 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.
- Become a member of PEN America and join a dedicated community readers, writers, and free speech defenders.
- Get tips on what to say at school board and public library meetings.
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, 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.
- Get advice for what to say at school board and public library meetings.
- Help others learn about book bans by sharing our book bans FAQ.
- Learn how to plan a peaceful protest.
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.
- Reach out to PEN America’s Freedom to Read team for assistance. Reach Tasslyn Magnusson at [email protected].
- Stay in touch with PEN America and other writers who believe in the power of free speech by becoming a professional member today.
Stay In Touch
PEN America is hard at work fighting the the educational gag orders, book bans, and “transparency” bills that threaten free expression and academic freedom in the classroom. Sign up to receive email updates about PEN America’s vital work on these issues, including reports, legislative roundups, media coverage, and advocacy alerts.