Kiara Alfonseca: School culture wars push students to form banned book clubs, anti-censorship groups
Reporting for ABC News, Kiara Alfonseca has an encouraging story of activist students.
Across the country, a generation of young readers is standing up against efforts to ban or restrict certain books in schools and libraries.
Student-led banned book clubs and anti-censorship groups have been popping up in states where a conservative-led movement to remove certain books or lessons has led to boisterous board meetings, protests, and more.
The students behind these groups say they have long been left out of the conversation, despite being the most impacted by such restrictions.
“I thought it would be perfect to do a banned book club — one: as just a way to read beautiful literature that’s important and should be read and then two: kind of as an act of resistance,” said 16-year-old Iris Mogul who recently started a banned book club in Miami, Florida.
Iris held the first meeting of her banned book club on a rainy day in late August. She said a small, intimate group of students showed up and voted to start off their reading list with “Their Eyes Were Watching God,” by Zora Neale Hurston, a book that touches on slavery, race, gender, and more.
In Florida, there were 22 attempts targeting 194 titles in the first eight months of the year, according to the ALA.
Books that touch on subjects like race and the LGBTQ community have made up the majority of book banning attempts. In many cases, these books also touch on discrimination and oppression.
These issues have also been at the center of legislation restricting classroom curriculum about race or LGBTQ identities in some states.