Texas leads the nation in the number of banned books removed from schools and public libraries this year.
According to the Texas Tribune, analysis by PEN America, a nonprofit that advocates for free speech, claims the banned books cover a variety of issues including racism, race, abortion and LGBTQ representation.
According to the report, between July 2021 and June 2022, 801 books were banned in 22 school districts and 174 titles. A ban, as defined by PEN America, is any action taken against a book based on content that is contested by parents or lawmakers.
The most removed books were Gender Queer: A Memoir by Maia Kobabe, The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison; “Roe v. Wade: A Woman’s Choice?” by Susan Dudley Gold; Out of Darkness by Ashley Hope Pérez and All Boys Aren’t Blue by George M. Johnson.
“This censorship movement is turning our public schools into political battlefields, driving wedges into communities, forcing teachers and librarians from their jobs, and belying the spirit of open inquiry and intellectual freedom that underpins a thriving democracy,” said Suzanne Nossel. The CEO of PEN America in a statement.
Florida and Pennsylvania followed Texas as the states with the most banned books with 566 banned books in Florida and 457 books in Pennsylvania. Most of the bans in Pennsylvania came from York County, a more conservative part of the state.
“This rapidly accelerating movement has caused increasing numbers of students to lose access to literature that empowers them to meet the challenges and complexities of democratic citizenship,” said Jonathan Friedman, director of PEN America’s Free Speech and Education Programs and lead author of the report in a statement.
PEN America also noted that the bans across the country were fueled by groups claiming they were “pornographic” or promoting “CRT.”