CHICAGO (NewsNation now) — There is a growing trend across the country to ban books from classrooms that some deem inappropriate. But is it valid?
Many books, including classics by beloved children’s author Dr. Seuss, are being pulled from school libraries, and classics such as “To Kill a Mockingbird” are being cancelled. Some authors say this latest ban could mark a new chapter in the history of attempts to censor free speech.
“I think growth comes from discomfort,” author and activist Kimberly Jones said Thursday in “The Donlon Report.” “And so if we don’t put our kids in a position where they can grow and learn, I think we’re doing them a disservice.”
The latest challenges come at a time when more elected officials and more conservative parent groups are calling for books to be removed from school libraries. Jones said there’s a reason schools should be able to “broaden their canon” when it comes to exploring social issues through classic textbooks.
“There are new books that have been added that deal with these issues that are more relevant (and) more appealing to children,” she said. “And they can learn those same lessons wholeheartedly. But as an author, there’s no way I can agree to ban books, especially when we’re talking about the ability to grow our children through difficult conversations.
Substack reporter Matt Taibbi, who has also joined the show, says that while the latest book bans are nothing new, it raises the question of who is really dictating these schedules.
“It’s unfortunate,” Taibbi said. “It’s part of democracy, you elect school boards, and they decide what teachers do and don’t teach. There is a difference between disallowing something from a library and removing something from a program.
But where do you draw the line between what is acceptable and what is offensive in today’s society?
“In general, the question of when to start treating children like adults is difficult,” Taibbi said. “Although I would say ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’ is a book you can teach…to very young children, and they should be able to handle it.”
The Mukilteo school board in Washington voted Monday to remove the classic book from its required reading list for ninth graders. The board said it was simply removed from the required list, but children are still welcome to read the book.
Books such as “The Bluest Eye”, which tells the story of a black girl confronted with incest and pedophilia, and “Maus”, which tells the story of the imprisonment of a boy’s parents in Nazi concentration camps, were also removed from school libraries. . The ban is particularly visible in red states.
Jones said the moral panic these school boards create behind these types of books is just that – panic.
“Kids are really capable…we really underestimate the conversations they have with each other and the book can be a great portal to having those difficult conversations.”
According to the American Library Association, the number of attempts to ban books from school libraries was 67% higher in September 2021 than in September 2020.