Book bans are getting everyone’s attention — including Biden’s. Here’s why : NPR

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Queer gender was one of the most banned and restricted titles in American libraries in 2022.

Rick Bowmer/AP

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Rick Bowmer/AP

Queer gender was one of the most banned and restricted titles in American libraries in 2022.

Rick Bowmer/AP

President Joe Biden mentioned checked “MAGA extremists” and attempts to ban the books in his video on Tuesday announcing that he was officially running for office again. Here’s why it’s the topic that just won’t stop.

What is it? In Frank’s words, it is a growing trend of parents and politicians pushing for censorship of material available to students in public schools and public libraries.

What’s the big deal? It seems that public libraries are another battleground for the ever-present US culture wars.

  • Another 41% of the challenged or banned titles have content related to LGBTQIA+ identity and themes, according to PEN.
  • This dynamic has existed for decades. Famed novelist Judy Blume faced intense scrutiny and calls for censorship in the 1980s for her books that discussed sexuality and self-image.
  • The number one banned book is out again Queer gender by Maia Kobabe, a graphic memoir that follows Kobabe’s journey to explore their own gender and queer identity.

Want to hear more about book bans? listen Consider This on how some communities are fighting back.

What are people saying?

In his re-election video released on Tuesday, Joe Biden cited a book as part of the “bedroom freedoms” threatened by “MAGA extremists”:


Here is what he said in a White House event honoring educators earlier this week:

I never thought I would be a president fighting against elected officials who try to ban, and ban, books.

Lessa Kananiʻopua Pelayo-Lozada, president of the American Library Association, on how the campaign to ban the books has increased in the past years:

Now we are seeing organized attempts by groups to censor multiple titles across the country without actually having read many of these books.

Elle Mehltretter, a 16-year-old who spoke to NPR’s Tovia Smith about circumventing online book bans in her home state of Florida:

You can say you ban books all you want, but you can never really ban them because they are everywhere.

So, what now?

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