Posted on October 28, 2021 at 2:00 PM by Sadye Scott-Hainchek

Books and literature curricula are finding themselves in a bit of an unwelcome spotlight in some state races.

In Texas, state Rep. Matt Krause wants every school district in the state to report on whether it has any of 850 books he deems problematic in their schools.

The books, in his words, “might make students feel discomfort, guilt, anguish, or any other form of psychological distress because of their race or sex.”

NPR notes that Krause is among several Republicans challenging Attorney General Ken Paxton in next year’s party primary.

The Texas State Teachers Association and many of the books’ authors express serious concern over the inquiry; check out NPR’s article on the issue to see just a few of the titles (and the reactions from some authors).

A little farther east, the controversy focuses on one particular book as emblematic of a bigger issue.

Virginia’s gubernatorial race, pitting former Governor Terry McAuliffe against Glenn Youngkin, now features an attack ad from the latter against the former’s veto of the “Beloved bill,” as news outlets including CBS are reporting.

That bill, if it had passed, would have allowed Virginia parents to block their children from reading books in school with sexually explicit material.

It owed much of its existence to one parent’s fight to ban Toni Morrison’s 1987 novel; at the time, McAuliffe vetoed the bill because he said the state Board of Education was already considering issues of parental objections to books in schools.

Youngkin has brought up the veto in past debates and recently launched an ad featuring that original parent who objected to Beloved. 

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Categories: Today in Books

Tagged As: NPR, Politics

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