New PEN America Report Shows Increase in Book Bans Driven by State Legislation

The report Banned in the USA: State Laws Supercharge Book Suppression in Schools,” released Thursday, shows a 28 percent increase in book bans over the last six months, reflecting the impact of state legislation on censorship efforts across the country.

In the last six months, there has been a 28 percent rise in book bans over the previous time period during the school year (January-June 2022), according to a new report from PEN America

"Banned in the USA: State Laws Supercharge Book Suppression in Schools” reveals that unlike in the past, when removal of books was initiated by parents or citizens, nearly a third of the book bans this school year were the direct result of newly-enacted state laws in Florida, Utah, and Missouri. Florida and Texas lead the country in book bans. 

While there have been many "wholesale bans" when an unknown number of books are removed at once, the individual titles that have been banned most frequently are Gender Queer: A Memoir by Maia Kobabe (banned in 15 districts), Flamer by Mike Curato (banned in 15 districts), Tricks by Ellen Hopkins (banned in 13 districts), and The Handmaid’s Tale: The Graphic Novel by Margaret Atwood and Renee Nault (banned in 12 districts).

Of the 1,477 recorded books banned by PEN America this school year, 30 percent are about race, racism, or include characters of color; and 26 percent have LGBTQIA+ characters or themes, according to the report.

Read the full press release below.


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