Tag: lgbtq

Banned Book Reading

The Arizona LGBT+ History Project will be hosting its Banned Books Reading on Friday, Sept 23 at the Alwun House  – 1204 E Roosevelt St, Phoenix, AZ 85006.

This will be a very special adult story time that focuses on book censorship, in conjunction with events like this happening across the country. Come participate in an evening of laughter while exercising our right of liberty and emancipation!Join us as a wide variety of readings from banned books, from the dissident and revolutionary to the downright salacious.

Come express your love of freedom in literature! Our independence of expression is at risk! Doors open at 6:00, show starts at 7p $10 in advance and $15 day of showThis event is a collaboration with the Alwun House and the Arizona LGBT+ History Project. Support by Bookman’s Entertainment Exchange Sister Sur Mon Visage, Mistress of Ceremonies

Spotlight on George M. Johnson

Join Banned Books Week Honorary Chair George M. Johnson for an intimate conversation about censorship and how it impacts readers, especially young adults. Johnson will discuss the censorship of their critically acclaimed bestselling novel All Boys Aren’t Blue, which was the third title on the American Library Association’s Top 10 Most Challenged Books of 2021, and the ongoing attacks on books and information related to LGBTQ+ identity. This one-on-one conversation will be led by Freedom to Read Foundation President and librarian Peter Coyl and include a short Q&A.

This event will stream LIVE on the Banned Books Week Facebook page on September 20 at 1:00 p.m. EDT: @BannedBooksWeek

About George M. Johnson

George M. Johnson (they/them) is a writer and activist based in New York. They have written on race, gender, sex, and culture for Essence, the Advocate, BuzzFeed News, Teen Vogue, and more than forty other national publications. George has appeared on BuzzFeed’s AM2DM as well as on MSNBC. All Boys Aren’t Blue is their debut, and was an Amazon Best Book of the Year, an Indie Bestseller, a People Magazine Best Book of the Year, and optioned for television by Gabrielle Union. The New York Times called it “an exuberant, unapologetic memoir infused with a deep but cleareyed love for its subjects.

About the Moderator

Peter Coyl (he/him) is the Library Director & CEO of the Sacramento Public Library.  He is also the President of the Freedom to Read Foundation and serves on ALA Council representing the Intellectual Freedom Round Table.  He is a member of the American Library Assocations’s Intellectual Freedom Committee, and served as Chair of the Stonewall Book Awards Committee and as Chair of ALA’s Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender Round Table (now the Rainbow Round Table), and as a member of the Public Library Assocaitions’s Task Force on Equity, Diversity, Inclusion, and Social Justice.

Claiming Our Stories: LGBTQ Book Bans in America

Amidst the growing threat of LGBTQ book bans nationwide, The Emancipator and GLAAD are teaming up to present a virtual Banned Books Week event at 7:30 p.m. ET, Wednesday, Sept. 21, featuring some of the nation’s best known LGBTQ authors and illustrators.

The dialogue will be moderated by Banned Books Week Honorary Chair George M. Johnson, an award-winning nonbinary activist and author of “All Boys Aren’t Blue.” The roundtable also includes Sarah Kate Ellis (president and CEO of GLAAD, “All Moms”), Daniel Haack (“Prince & Knight”), Isabel Galupo (“Maiden & Princess”), Leah Johnson (“You Should See Me In A Crown”), and Harry Woodgate (“Grandad’s Camper”).

Johnson and the panelists will discuss the disturbing rise in LGBTQ book bans and assess whether parents or the political winds are the driving force. The conversation will address the racial undertones of book bans, and the divisive nature of book banning as a point of entry into excluding people and experiences that don’t conform to rigid, homophobic, racist, and xenophobic values. Panelists will also ponder the impact of book bans on LGBTQ literature: Will they intimidate and discourage publishers and writers from producing material in the future?

Register here.

Panelists

George M. Johnson (Moderator), “All Boys Aren’t Blue” and “We Are Not Broken”

George M. Johnson (they/them) is an award-winning Black nonbinary activist and author of The New York Times–bestselling young adult memoir “All Boys Aren’t Blue” (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2020) and “We Are Not Broken” (Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, 2021). “All Boys Aren’t Blue” was named a best book of the year by the New York Public Library and the Chicago Public Library, and it has been optioned for television by Gabrielle Union’s I’ll Have Another Productions. Johnson has written for several major outlets, including Teen Vogue, VICE, Entertainment Tonight, NBC, The Root, Buzzfeed, Essence, and TheGrio.

Sarah Kate Ellis (president & CEO of GLAAD), “All Moms” and “Times Two: Two Women in Love and the Happy Family They Made”

Sarah Kate Ellis is President and CEO of GLAAD, the world’s largest LGBTQ media advocacy organization. She is a frequent spokesperson, advocate and leader for LGBTQ acceptance across all forms of media including print, television, film, social media, advertising and corporate responsibility. Ellis is author of two books with her wife Kristen Ellis-Henderson, the picture book “All Moms,” and “Times Two: Two Women in Love and the Happy Family They Made,” an autobiography about their simultaneous pregnancies and road to motherhood.

Isabel Galupo, “Maiden & Princess”

Isabel Galupo (she/her) is a queer, part-Filipina, Jewish woman with three moms and a dad (yeah, you read that right). After being an only child for 10 years, Galupo found herself an overnight oldest kid with four younger sisters; this made her really good at changing diapers but also at observing, adapting, and—at times —escaping into genre fiction. It only makes sense, then, that she grew up to be a writer, constantly drawing on her unusual family dynamic and intersecting identities to tell stories at the knife’s edge of painful insight and bizarre heart. Galupo graduated from Ithaca College as a Park Scholar with a B.S. in screenwriting and a minor in sociology, and participated in the Lambda Literary Writer’s Retreat for Emerging LGBT Voices in 2015. She lives in Los Angeles, where she has written on over a dozen shows for Nickelodeon, Warner Bros. Animation, Netflix, Amazon, PBS, Apple TV+, and Mattel for preschoolers and kids ages 6-11. “Maiden & Princess” is her first book.

Daniel Haack, “Prince & Knight” and “Tale of the Shadow King”

Daniel Haack (he/him) is the author of Prince & Knight and its sequel, Prince & Knight: Tale of the Shadow King, and the co-author of Maiden & Princess, all from Little Bee Books. The former was named an ALA Rainbow List Top Ten book, a Goodreads Choice Awards nominee and was named one of the best picture books of 2018 by Amazon, Kirkus Reviews and the Chicago Tribune, as well as one of the Top Ten Most Challenged Books of 2019 and one of the Top 100 Most Banned and Challenged Books of the Decade (2010-2019). More recently, he wrote the two-part How Felix Found His Moxie for Wondery’s Little Stories Everywhere podcast. Daniel is also an Emmy Award-winning creative executive for children’s television and holds a B.S. from Ithaca College and an Ed.M. from the Harvard University Graduate School of Education.

Leah Johnson, “You Should See Me In A Crown” and “Rise to the Sun”

Leah Johnson (she/her) is an eternal Midwesterner and author of award-winning books for children and young adults. Her bestselling debut YA novel, “You Should See Me in a Crown,” was a Stonewall Honor Book, the inaugural Reese’s Book Club YA pick, and in 2021, TIME named “You Should See Me in a Crown” one of the 100 Best Young Adult Books of All Time. Johnson’s essays and cultural criticism can be found in Teen Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar, and Cosmopolitan among others. Her debut middle grade, “Ellie Engle Saves Herself” is forthcoming from Disney-Hyperion in 2023.

Harry Woodgate, “Grandad’s Camper” and “Timid”

Harry Woodgate (pronouns: they/them) is an award-winning author and illustrator who has worked with clients including Google, Little Bee Books, Bloomsbury, Andersen Press, The Sunday Times Magazine, National Book Tokens, Harper Collins, Walker Books, The Washington Post and Penguin Random House.

Their books include “Grandad’s Camper,” “Timid,” “Little Glow,” “Shine Like The Stars,” “My First Baking Book” and “The Very Merry Murder Club.”

In 2022, they won the Waterstones Children’s Book Prize for Best Illustrated Book, as well as receiving a nomination for the CILIP Yoto Kate Greenaway Award and a Stonewall Book Award Honor from the American Library Association. Their books have also been recognized in other awards including the Polari Prize and Diverse Book Awards.

Woodgate is passionate about writing and illustrating diverse, inclusive stories that inspire children to be inquisitive, creative, kind and proud of what makes them unique.

 

Celebrating Black Gay Literature Amidst a Wave of Book Bans

Join PEN America Detroit for a Banned Book Week in-person discussion on the anti-Blackness and homophobia inherent in the slate of book bans around the country. This conversation will offer strategies on how to push back against the recent book bans, while also offering a space to celebrate black gay literature in all of its permutations.

Moderated by Amber Ogden, the PEN Detroit Chapter leader, and featuring Aaron Foley, author of Boys Come First, this conversation will reflect on the wave of censorship stifling the freedom to read, and the extraordinary power of marginalized voices.

REGISTER HERE

Aaron Foley is the senior editor for the PBS NewsHour’s Communities Initiative and previously served as the founding director of the Black Media Initiative at the Center for Community Media at the Newmark Graduate School of Journalism at CUNY. Previously, he was a John S. Knight Journalism Fellow at Stanford University, chief storyteller for the City of Detroit, and editor of BLAC Detroit Magazine. He is also an author and veteran freelance journalist, having contributed to This American LifeThe AtlanticColumbia Journalism Review, and more.

Amber Ogden is a freelance writer from Detroit with a background in social work. Amber has dedicated her life’s purpose to the betterment of youth in her community while also writing and marketing for state and local government agencies focused on children and families for most of her career. She started in journalism and soon found her second love working with children in the child welfare system through residential and foster care programs in the State of Michigan. While currently working with families in human services for the Metro Detroit area, she continues to freelance for multiple publications across the country such as Chevy in the D, Model D, Rachel Ray Every Day and BASIC Magazine. She is also involved in building community by working with local non-profits such as It Starts at Home cleaning the same neighborhood where she grew up. She has also moderated a panel discussion for PEN America covering Local Media and Immigrant Justice.


George M. Johnson Named Honorary Chair of Banned Books Week

George M. Johnson

The Banned Books Week Coalition is proud to announce that George M. Johnson has been named Honorary Chair for Banned Books Week 2022. The critically acclaimed—and frequently banned—author will lead the weeklong event, which brings awareness to the harms of censorship September 18–24, 2022.

George M. Johnson (they/them) is an award-winning Black nonbinary activist and author of The New York Times–bestselling young adult memoir All Boys Aren’t Blue (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2020) and We Are Not Broken (Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, 2021). All Boys Aren’t Blue was named a best book of the year by the New York Public Library and the Chicago Public Library, and it has been optioned for television by Gabrielle Union’s I’ll Have Another Productions. Johnson has written for several major outlets, including Teen Vogue, VICE, Entertainment Tonight, NBC, The Root, Buzzfeed, Essence, and TheGrio. 

All Boys Aren’t Blue was the third title on the American Library Association’s Top 10 Most Challenged Books of 2021, an annual list released during National Library Week. Like most of the books on the list, All Boys Aren’t Blue was challenged for LGBTQ+ content, which is disproportionately targeted for censorship alongside works dealing with racism and racial identity. Several state legislatures have passed or are considering laws that would limit instruction related to LGBTQ+ identity and race. Johnson and many other authors addressing these issues are impacted, and students are harmed by the resulting censorship.

“Being the honorary chair for Banned Books Week is important to me because I know what it is like to grow up and not have stories about my own lived experience, nor the truth outside of an ahistorical context,” says Johnson. “This is a fight for the truth that has always existed even if it rarely gets told. When the youth are empowered with stories about the experiences of others, they become adults who understand the necessity for equity and equality and have the tools to build a world the likes of which we have never seen.”

Since it was founded in 1982, Banned Books Week has drawn attention to the attempts to remove books and other materials from libraries, schools, and bookstores. Banned Books Week 2022 has the theme “Books Unite Us. Censorship Divides Us.” All readers deserve to see themselves reflected in the books available to them, and people better understand themselves and each other when given the opportunity to choose what they want to read without restriction. This is particularly true for young people, who are most impacted by censorship. The theme image of caged birds reminds us that censorship isolates us from information and from each other.

Join Honorary Chair George M. Johnson and the Banned Books Week Coalition in recognizing the ways in which books unite us during Banned Books Week, September 18–24, 2022! 

Visit bannedbooksweek.org for information about Johnson’s events, programming ideas, and promotional materials; check out the latest edition of the Celebrate Banned Books Week Handbook; and follow @BannedBooksWeek on Twitter for the latest Banned Books Week and censorship news.

Learn more about the Top 10 Most Challenged Books of 2021 at ala.org/bbooks/top and the issues facing America’s libraries at www.ala.org/news/state-americas-libraries-report-2022

ABOUT GEORGE M. JOHNSON

George M. Johnson is a writer and activist based in New York. They have written on race, gender, sex, and culture for Essence, the Advocate, BuzzFeed News, Teen Vogue, and more than 40 other national publications. George has appeared on BuzzFeed’s AM2DM as well as on MSNBC. All Boys Aren’t Blue is their debut and was an Amazon Best Book of the Year, an Indie Bestseller, a People Magazine Best Book of the Year, and optioned for television by Gabrielle Union. The New York Times called it “an exuberant, unapologetic memoir infused with a deep but cleareyed love for its subjects.”

Website: https://iamgmjohnson.com/ 

Twitter: @IamGMJohnson

Instagram: @IamGMJohnson

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/george.m.johnson

ABOUT THE BANNED BOOKS WEEK COALITION

The Banned Books Week Coalition is an international alliance of diverse organizations joined by a commitment to increase awareness of the annual celebration of the freedom to read. The Coalition seeks to engage various communities and inspire participation in Banned Books Week through education, advocacy, and the creation of programming about the problem of book censorship. 

The Banned Books Week Coalition includes American Booksellers for Free Expression, American Library Association, American Society of Journalists and Authors, Amnesty International USA, Association of University Presses, Authors Guild, Comic Book Legal Defense Fund, Foundation for Individual Rights and Expression, Freedom to Read Foundation, Index on Censorship, National Book Foundation, National Coalition Against Censorship, National Council of Teachers of English, PEN America, People for the American Way Foundation, and Project Censored. It is endorsed by the Center for the Book in the Library of Congress. Banned Books Week also receives generous support from Penguin Random House.

Website: https://bannedbooksweek.org/

Twitter: @BannedBooksWeek

Instagram: @banned_books_week

Events Spotlight: September 26

Happy Banned Books Week Thursday! Today brings a look at the censorship of LGBTQ+ literature, lots of live readings, and more! Let’s take a look at the happenings…

Be sure to visit the Banned Books Week event page at https://bannedbooksweek.org/events/, where you can find events happening all over the world! If you’re hosting an event, let us know about it by completing this form — we’ll add it to the map!

Don’t forget to tag @BannedBooksWeek and #BannedBooksWeek on Twitter and Facebook when you share your Banned Books Week adventures!

Coalition Events

Webinar: Banned Books Week Library Livestream — LGBTQ Challenges

Webinar • 12:00 pm – 1:00 pm CDT

Michelle Perez (THE PERVERT) and Grace Ellis (MOONSTRUCK) in conversation with Moni Barrette (GNCRT Board, Chula Vista Public Library Principal Librarian) about the disproportionately high incidence of bans and challenges levied against LGBTQ+ books in libraries and schools. This discussion will also touch on the recent increase in challenges and cancellations of Drag Storytimes in libraries across the nation. Brought to you by ALA’s Graphic Novel Comics Round Table and Intellectual Freedom Round Table, and Image Comics. Find out more »

Books on the Chopping Block

Edgewater Branch, Chicago, IL • 4:30 pm – 5:30 pm CDT

Free dramatic readings by City Lit Theater from the Ten Most Frequently Challenged Books in America, as compiled by the American Library Association’s Office of Intellectual Freedom.  The program lasts approximately 50 minutes. Find out more »

Books on the Chopping Block

Lincoln-Belmont Branch, Chicago, IL • 6:30 pm – 7:30 pm CDT

Free dramatic readings by City Lit Theater from the Ten Most Frequently Challenged Books in America, as compiled by the American Library Association’s Office of Intellectual Freedom.  The program lasts approximately 50 minutes. Find out more »

CAMPUS AT A CROSSROADS: FREE SPEECH, TRUTH, AND DEMOCRACY IN AN ELECTION YEAR

NYU Cantor Film Center, New York, NY • 6:30 pm – 8:30 pm EDT

With the 2020 election season picking up steam, debates over free speech, truth, and the university are of increasing relevance to the health of American democracy. But in an era of deepening polarization, many see these issues through partisan eyes, shouting into fractured echo chambers. Campuses seem to be at a cross-roads—can they restore a common understanding of facts, and of the rules of engagement and disagreement? Or are they in danger of buckling under the weight of our current culture war? Find out more »

Truly Uncensored? LGBTQ+ Young Adult Literature

Knowledge Centre, The British Library, London, United Kingdom • 7:00 pm – 8:30 pm BST

The UK has no official censorship – but does that fact make us too complacent? As part of Banned Book Week 2019, we explore the challenges facing LGBTQ+ Young Adult literature with Dean Atta, Fen Coles and Robin Stevens, chaired by Erica Gillingham. What are the invisible barriers to expression and publication? And how do editors, publishers, teachers, librarians, parents or even authors contribute to unofficial censorship around LGBTQ+ issues? Find out more »

Other Events

Banned Books Week: “American Slavery / American Censorship”

Harvard Law School WCC B015, Cambridge, MA • 12:00 pm – 1:00 pm EDT

Professor Randall L. Kennedy of HLS weaves a story of the fight against slavery and the censoring of David Walker’s 1822 tract Appeal to the Colored Citizens of the World. Co-sponsored by the Harvard Law School Library, the American Constitution Society, the ACLU at HLS, the Harvard Law School Rule of Law Society, and the Law and Philosophy Society. A non-pizza lunch will be served. Find out more »

San Diego Writers, Ink Presents a Very Special Banned Books Reading

Lestat’s West, San Diego, CA • 6:30 pm – 8:30 pm PDT

In honor of the American Library Association’s Banned Books Week, San Diego Writers, Ink is planning a very special Banned Books Reading on September 26, 2019, at Lestat’s West at 3343 Adams Avenue in San Diego’s Normal Heights. Find out more »

Banned Books Week Celebration at Hooray For Books!

Hooray For Books!, Alexandria, VA • 6:30 pm – 7:30 pm EDT

Every year, we’re excited to join book lovers from across Virginia to celebrate the freedom to read and call attention to the wealth of creativity that is stifled when books are forbidden from library shelves. This year’s Banned Books Week is from Sept. 22 – Sept. 28, but the fight for intellectual freedom takes place every day in every county in Virginia. That’s why we’re joining hands with independent bookstores across the Commonwealth to celebrate Banned Books Week. Find out more »

September Book Club Discussion: Brave New World

Fables Books, Goshen, IN • 7:00 pm – 9:00 pm EDT

Join us on Thursday, September 28th at 7 pm for our September Book Club Discussion Night. This event takes place during Banned Book Week an annual event celebrating the freedom to read. We will discuss Brave New World by Aldous Huxley. $5 for the event, snack provided. Banned in Ireland when it first appeared in 1932, and removed from shelves and objected to ever since, Brave New World is still making waves today. Find out more »

Teen Movie: To Kill a Mockingbird

Castroville Public Library, Castroville, TX • 7:00 pm – 9:30 pm CDT

In celebration of Banned Books Week, join us at the Castroville Library for a showing of To Kill a Mockingbird! Please bring blankets or lawn chairs to enjoy the show. Refreshments will be provided while supplies last. Find out more »

Celebrate Banned Books Week with Drag Queen Story Hour in San Francisco!

What better way to celebrate Banned Books Week than with Drag Queen Story Hour! The Banned Books Week Coalition presents this special event on September 28 at The Bindery (1727 Haight Street, San Francisco), The Booksmith’s multi-purpose events space.

Join some of San Francisco’s most glamorous drag queens as they read challenged and banned picture books to entertain children of all ages! Doors will open at 2:00 p.m., with the reading to start at 2:30 p.m. The event is free and open to the public, but priority will be given to parents with their children.

Drag Queen Story Hour, which presents readings and workshops to kids of all ages in public libraries, has faced repeated challenges to its programming across the country in the past two years. By partnering with the Banned Books Week Coalition, both organizations aim to highlight the real dangers of allowing stories — and the real lives they represent — to be erased. Telling kids and readers of all ages which stories are valuable and which are not can have lasting and devastating effects. The September 28 event is a celebration of expression, inclusion, and diversity.

Banned Books Week is an annual event celebrating the freedom to read. It was launched in 1982 in response to a sudden surge in the number of challenges to books in schools, bookstores, and libraries — challenges that still happen today! The 2019 celebration will be held September 22 – 28. The theme of this year’s event proclaims “Censorship Leaves Us in the Dark,” urging everyone to “Keep the Light On.”

LGBTQ-inclusive children’s books are among the most challenged and banned titles each year. In the last few years, acclaimed picture books like A Day in the Life of Marlon Bundo by Jill Twiss and EG Keller; This Day in June by Gayle E. Pitman and Kristyna Litten; And Tango Makes Three by Peter Parnell, Justin Richardson, and Henry Cole; and I Am Jazz by Jessica Herthel, Jazz Jennings, and Shelagh McNicholas have appeared on the annual Top 10 Most Challenged Books List from American Library Association’s Office for Intellectual Freedom.

Join Banned Books Week and Drag Queen Story Hour at The Bindery in San Francisco for a fabulous celebration of reading, 2:30 – 4:00 p.m., September 28! The event also features facepainting for kids and a cash bar serving beer, wine, and cocktails for anyone 21+. RSVP on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/events/1093204637543051/

Find Banned Books Week events around the world at https://bannedbooksweek.org/events/

Learn more about the most challenged books at ala.org/bbooks/top

ABOUT THE BANNED BOOKS WEEK COALITION

The Banned Books Week Coalition is an international alliance of diverse organizations joined by a commitment to increase awareness of the annual celebration of the freedom to read. The Coalition seeks to engage various communities and inspire participation in Banned Books Week through education, advocacy, and the creation of programming about the problem of book censorship.

The Banned Books Week Coalition includes American Booksellers Association; American Library Association; American Society of Journalists and Authors; Association of University Presses; Authors Guild; Comic Book Legal Defense Fund; Dramatists Legal Defense Fund; Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE); Freedom to Read Foundation; Index on Censorship; National Coalition Against Censorship; National Council of Teachers of English; PEN America; People For the American Way Foundation; and Project Censored. It is endorsed by the Center for the Book in the Library of Congress. Banned Books Week also receives generous support from DKT Liberty Project and Penguin Random House.

https://bannedbooksweek.org/

https://www.facebook.com/bannedbooksweek/

Twitter: @BannedBooksWeek

ABOUT DRAG QUEEN STORY HOUR

Drag Queen Story Hour/SF (DQSH/SF) contracts with professional drag queens who are experienced youth performers and educators. They capture the imagination and gender play of childhood and give kids glamorous, positive, and unabashedly queer role models, all while promoting early childhood education and inclusive family programming. In spaces we create, kids are able to see beyond gender restrictions and imagine a world where everybody is safe and welcome and dress up is real. DQSH Queens are ambassadors for equity diversity and inclusion in family programming. Created by Michelle Tea and RADAR Productions in San Francisco, DQSH now happens regularly in L.A., New York, and San Francisco, and events are popping up all over the country and the world!

https://www.dragqueenstoryhour.org/

https://www.facebook.com/dragqueenstoryhour/

https://www.instagram.com/dragqueenstoryhour/?hl=en

ABOUT THE BINDERY

The Bindery is a multi-purpose events space and bookstore, a satellite project of independent bookstore and San Francisco legacy business The Booksmith. The events parlor has a beer, wine, and cocktail bar and hosts all manner of events, literary and otherwise, public and private. It’s home to the experimental keystone, The Arcana Project: a deep, highly inclusive array of books — fiction and nonfiction, from all over the world — presented in chronological order by the date they were written.

https://www.booksmith.com/Bindery

https://www.facebook.com/TheBinderySF/

https://www.instagram.com/thebinderysf/

Local Pastors Attempt to Ban Books from Banned Books Display at Maine Public Library

Banned books display at Rumford Public Library (via Twitter user Katje Fae @katjefae)

A group of pastors in Rumford, Maine are attempting to have LGBTQ books banned from the Rumford Public Library’s display of banned books. The library is holding a board meeting today, where the controversy will be discussed. The National Coalition Against Censorship and Comic Book Legal Defense Fund support Rumford Public Library’s display and freedom to choose how best to serve their community. NCAC and CBLDF oppose efforts to limit a whole community’s access to books based on the personal viewpoints or religious beliefs of some groups or individuals in that community. As public institutions, libraries are obligated not to discriminate on the basis of viewpoint or sexual orientation.

The display coincides with Banned Books Week, an annual celebration of the freedom to read, highlighting books that often draw challenges in schools and libraries. Half of the books on this year’s American Library Association Top 10 Banned Books list tell stories of LGBTQ characters. Books representing a wide variety of experiences and voices allow readers, particularly children, to find connection, safely explore unfamiliar ideas, and broaden their understanding of the world.

This article was originally posted by the National Coalition Against Censorship. The Comic Book Legal Defense Fund has posted additional information and a statement from Executive Director Charles Brownstein here.

Banned Spotlight: Drama

One would think there wouldn’t be much controversy around a bestselling graphic novel about a middle school play — a graphic novel that includes no profanity, drug or alcohol use, or sexual content. But Raina Telgemeier’s acclaimed and immensely popular Drama has been on the hit lists of a number of would-be censors, who claim the book is offensive because it includes LGBTQ characters. Drama held the #3 spot on ALA’s top ten challenged books list in 2017, and it also had the dubious honor of appearing on the 2016 list for offensive political viewpoint and the 2014 list for being sexually explicit.

Callie, the protagonist of Drama, loves the theater, but she’s no singer, so she’s the set designer for her school’s production of Moon Over Mississippi. But she doesn’t know much about carpentry, and there’s no way she can afford Broadway production on a middle-school budget. Callie befriends two cute twin brothers: Justin, who is openly gay, and Jesse, who is still struggling with his sexual identity. In the course of the story, Jesse ends up assuming a female role in the play because the original actress cannot perform, and he shares a chaste kiss on stage with another male character.

Drama, which was published in 2012, won the Stonewall Honor and was nominated for a Harvey Award. It was listed as a Best Book of 2012 by School Library Journal, Publishers Weekly, and The Washington Post. The New Times and Booklist included it on their Editor’s Choice lists, and NPR named it a great summer read for teens.

Drama has been banned on multiple occasions in Texas. The state ACLU releases an annual banned books report, usually in conjunction with Banned Books Week. In the 2016-17 school year, Drama was the only banned book in the Texas ACLU’s findings. It was removed from the Franklin Independent School District. It was also banned from Chapel Hill Elementary in Mount Pleasant in 2014-15, as well as Kirbyville Middle School in 2015-16.

The Comic Book Legal Defense Fund has also helped defuse a number of potential challenges to the book and provides resources in support of it:

Find more of ALA OIF’s top ten challenged and banned lists here.