Sep 21, 2022 - News

Texas bans more books than any other state

Illustration of a stack of books with barbed wire wrapped around them.

Illustration: Maura Losch/Axios

Nothing makes us want to read a book more than learning it's banned.

Driving the news: It's Banned Books Week and a new report from writers' group PEN America shows Texas has banned more books than any other state.

  • The PEN America report found that 1,648 book titles were banned nationwide in 2,532 decisions from July 2021 to June 2022.

Why it matters: Most of the listed books are about LGBTQ issues or people of color. PEN America calls the limits "deeply undemocratic."

  • Plus, reading is great and should be encouraged, not discouraged, especially among kids who are reading for fun at the lowest levels since 1984.

Zoom in: The report mentions bans in 32 states, including 22 school districts in Texas.

  • North East ISD, near San Antonio, had the most bans with 435, followed by Granbury ISD with 133.
  • Birdville, Denton, Frisco, Keller, Prosper and Richardson schools were also listed.

Yes, but: The analysis details only bans reported to PEN America or challenges that made the news.

Details: Some of the banned books were on our high school English reading lists, including classics "Of Mice and Men" and "The Bluest Eye," the latter ranking eighth among the most-challenged books in 2021.

Of note: While the publicity surrounding book bans has led to an increase in sales, some authors fear their books still won't be read by students who can access only library books.

💭 Our thought bubble: We hope these bans lead to more people reading more books that lead to more discussions about potentially uncomfortable topics.


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