Axios Salt Lake City

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Happy Thursday! It's warm, the weekend is near, what more could you ask for?

  • Today's weather: ☀️ Sunny, with a high near 71.

Today's newsletter is 729 words, a 3-minute read.

1 big thing: Utah's most-banned book

Book titles challenged in public schools and libraries, 2023
Data: American Library Association; Map: Rahul Mukherjee/Axios

"Out of Darkness," a novel about a teen interracial couple in 1937, is the most-banned book in Utah, per a recent report by the American Library Association.

The big picture: Complaints in Utah and nationwide have overwhelmingly targeted books with themes addressing race and LGBTQ+ identities.

Flashback: Ashley Hope Pérez's 2015 award-winning book came under fire in September 2021, when a Texas parent complained the book contained sexual references.

Zoom in: Two months later, Canyons School District in Salt Lake County removed the book. along with eight others, but later returned it to libraries.

What's inside: The historical fiction novel explores a romance between Black and Mexican-American teens who experience racism in an east Texas town where a high school exploded, killing about 300 people.

  • It includes discussion of sexual violence and intimacy between the 17-year-old protagonists.

Reality check: The most commonly cited passage in support of banning the book doesn't encourage or describe sex between characters; it depicts a group of boys fusing racism and misogyny in their threats against the Mexican-American protagonist.

What they're saying: "If you were to stack up all the books with sexual content in any library, the tallest stack by far would be about white, straight characters," Peréz wrote in a 2022 essay for NPR.

  • "Tellingly, those are not the books under attack. Claims about 'sexual content' are a pretext for erasing the stories that tell Black, Latinx, queer and other non-dominant kids that they matter and belong."

The latest: Gov. Spencer Cox signed a bill last month that will make it easier to remove books from all Utah public schools, if just three districts deem it to be "indecent" or "pornographic."

By the numbers: There were 21 complaints filed in Utah in 2023, targeting 152 titles, the ALA reported.

Top three banned titles

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2. 😎 Your weekend mixtape

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

It's time for fun in and around SLC!

Jazz fan appreciation

It's the last home game of the season for the Utah Jazz as they play the Houston Rockets.

  • When: 7pm
  • Where: Delta Center
  • Tickets: Prices vary

JR De Guzman

The 2016 winner of StandUp NBC is coming to Utah — and you can see his 15-minute special on Netflix.

  • When: 7pm and 9:30pm Friday and Saturday
  • Where: Wiseguys at the Gateway
  • Tickets: $30

Sierra Hull

Hear the Grammy-nominated mandolin player in a concert hosted by KRCL.

  • When: 7pm Friday
  • Where: Commonwealth Room
  • Tickets: $32 general admission, $55 reserved platform seating


Tree Utah is seeking helpers to plant trees at the 9-Line Orchard.

  • When: 9am Friday
  • Where: 932 S. 1100 West
  • Admission: Free

Fluffy friends

Cross E Ranch's Spring Festival is underway until May 11, with lambs, bunnies and chicks, plus inflatable rides, obstacle courses, games and other attractions.

  • When: 4pm–8pm Mondays, Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays; 10am–8pm Saturdays
  • Where: 3500 N. 2200 West, SLC
  • Tickets: Vary by date and time

Take a scream break

3. Fry Sauce: NHL contingency plans

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

🏒 Salt Lake City's hope for an NHL team could be realized sooner than later. The league is preparing a contingency plan that could move the Arizona Coyotes here as early as next season. (ESPN)

🚂 Big Boy No. 4014, the world's largest operating steam locomotive, will stop in Ogden on July 20 and 21. It's part of Big Boy's scenic tour from Cheyenne, Wyoming, to Roseville, California. (Fox 13)

🩻 First lady Abby Cox underwent emergency surgery on her spine yesterday at the University of Utah to remove degenerative discs in her neck. (Deseret News)

4. 😋 One sweet treat to go

Sweet treats at Eclair French Pastry. Photo: Erin Alberty/Axios

In a road-construction-flummoxed quest for dessert after a play at Hale Centre Theatre, my fam stumbled into this wonderful cafe in Sandy: Eclair French Pastry.

The vibe: Decadent-but-down-homey.

  • Have a tea party with a pot of Moroccan mint.

What to try: The eclairs, obviously. There are lots of gourmet flavors, from pistachio to blue lavender.

Yes, but: Don't miss the dining options!

  • The cafe serves frequent dinners and brunches — usually highlighting global cuisine — and sometimes has live music.
  • Follow them on Instagram to keep up with their specials each week.

🍳 Erin doesn't like the word "brekky" for "breakfast.

🤕 Kim is out sick.

This newsletter was edited by Ross Terrell and copy edited by Natasha Danielle Smith and Carolyn DiPaolo.