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Read Banned Books!

Banning books from schools and libraries is a crisis in the United States. Restricting what educators can and can’t teach through state laws and school board mandates harms us all and impacts millions of young learners across the country.

We believe that when standard history curriculums fail to teach truth, they fail to teach a fuller narrative that includes the perspectives of the traditionally disenfranchised, the poor, BIPOC communities, women and workers. By focusing on a more honest look at the past, we'll better understand the present and be equipped with ways to improve the future.

Read banned books!

PEN America reported that between July 2021 to June 2022 there were 2,532 instances of individual books being banned, affecting 1,648 unique book titles. Between July and December 2022, instances of individual book bans occurred in 66 school districts in 21 states with bans most prevalent in Texas, Florida, Missouri, Utah and South Carolina.

Reading and advocating for banned books is one of the ways you can resist the attacks on teaching truth. Download a free resource to learn more about choosing books to end bias, share what you’re learning and support your local librarian today!

The following book lists include banned or challenged books you can purchase at your independent neighborhood bookstore or from Bookshop.org, a website on a mission to financially support local, independent bookstores by connecting readers with independent booksellers all over the world.

Books authored by queer writers and that center queer characters

PEN America’s report showed that 41 percent of books banned between July 2021 to June 2022 explicitly address LGBTQ+ themes or have protagonists or prominent secondary characters who are LGBTQ+—including nine percent of titles for transgender characters or stories.

This book list was curated by ShopQueer.Co, an independent bookshop that splits profits with queer authors—when you purchase a book from them, the author gets at least double what they'd get anywhere else. Check out their website to learn more about their mission!

CHILDREN’S BOOKS
YOUNG ADULT (YA) BOOKS
ADULT BOOKS

Books to #TeachTruth

PEN America’s report showed that 10 percent of banned book titles between July 2021 to June 2022 have themes related to rights and activism and nine percent are either biography, autobiography, or memoir. As Seattle educator Jesse Hagopian says, “It makes a difference for young people to see themselves in history and learn that, rather than waiting for the luck of a hero to come along, we must all play a role.”

This book list was curated by the Zinn Education Project, which works to support educators teaching people’s history by offering free lessons, online classes, teacher study groups, and campaigns on topics including climate justice, reconstruction and the right to teach truthfully.

CHILDREN’S BOOKS
YOUNG ADULT (YA) BOOKS
ADULT BOOKS

Books authored by BIPOC writers and center characters of color

PEN America’s report showed that 21 percent banned book titles between July 2021 to June 2022 directly address issues of race and racism and 40 percent contain protagonists or prominent secondary characters of color. African American Policy Forum’s Sumi Cho says, “Banning books and classroom teachings about racial injustice are not new ideas, they are the latest tactics to prevent social progress from eliminating structural inequalities.”

This book list was curated by recommendations from the African American Policy Forum’s #TruthBeTold campaign, Debbie Reese of American Indians in Children's Literature and Social Justice Books.

CHILDREN’S BOOKS
YOUNG ADULT (YA) BOOKS
ADULT BOOKS

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