For Banned Books Week 2023, PEN America and We Believe gathered a consortium of publishers and nonprofit organizations to rally behind the freedom to read with this open letter. If you believe in these principles, send a letter to your state lawmakers to voice your opposition to book bans.
We believe in the freedom to read.
Schools and libraries are critical places to kindle imaginations and spark a lifelong love of reading. Students deserve classrooms and school libraries that help them be successful.
We believe stories matter.
Books can be powerful, compelling, insightful, and enjoyable. Literature has endless value and should be publicly accessible to all.
We believe in the freedom to learn.
Students need access to accurate history. Students deserve the chance to understand their world and everyone in it.
We believe all students should feel valued in the classroom.
Growing up is hard enough. Classrooms and school libraries should be spaces where all students feel they belong.
We believe teachers and librarians deserve respect.
Schools and libraries are staffed by trained professionals who make informed decisions about educational materials. Their assessments should be respected and not subject to political pressure, threats, or intimidation.
We believe parents are partners in education.
Parents have long had a voice in schools. When a parent, student, or teacher requests or objects to a book, they should have their concerns heard and considered. However, one parent’s views or one group of parents’ views should not restrict access to books for all.
We believe in clear, consistent, transparent policies around reviewing books.
Books must not be removed from shelves just because they are challenged. Evaluations of books must be based on facts and the merits, considered by decision makers who have read the book in its entirety.
American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education
American Civil Liberties Union – Utah
American Federation of Teachers
American Library Association
Brown Books Publishing Group
Campaign for Our Shared Future
Children’s Book Council
Every Child a Reader
Florida Freedom to Read Project
Freedom to Read Foundation
Hachette Book Group
Lee & Low
Let America Read
Let Utah Read
Mad Cave Studios
National Council of Teachers of English
National Education Association
Penguin Random House
Readers to Eaters
Red Wine & Blue Education Fund
Simon & Schuster
Stand for Children
Unite Against Book Bans
We Need Diverse Books