Posted on October 1, 2021 at 11:00 AM by Sadye Scott-Hainchek

Book challenges and bans are clearly not going away any time soon.

But what will change, though, is the themes that tend to grab the book-ban headlines.

NPR spoke with Deborah Caldwell-Stone, director of the American Library Association’s Office for Intellectual Freedom, in the leadup to this year’s Banned Books Week.

Caldwell-Stone said the most challenged books of 2020 have a heavy emphasis on issues of racism and equality, versus 2018 and 2019, in which LGBTQ concerns reigned supreme.

And what also changes is how authors react to learning that their books have been targeted.

Angie Thomas, author of the frequently challenged The Hate U Give, welcomed the attention in a tweet, noting that when districts ban the book, its sales actually go up.

But Jason Reynolds, author of two books on the 2020 list (Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You  and All American Boys) and this year’s honorary chair of Banned Books Week, said he does find it painful — but not as a personal insult.

“When these books are banned, there are going to be thousands and thousands of young people who will not get these books,” he said in a Facebook Live event.

But one topic that isn't addressed much during Banned Books Week? That of prison book bans.

Alyssa Shotwell takes a quick look at what prison book bans usually cover and why we should care at The Mary Sue.

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Categories: Today in Books

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