Pen America: Book bans spike by 33%

A new report from PEN America reveals a 33 percent increase in book bans in public schools across the United States during the 2022-23 school year compared to the previous year.

The report highlights the grave threat to the freedom to read and learn in schools across the country, as book bans escalate alongside legislative efforts to restrict teaching on topics related to race, gender, history, and LGBTQ+ identities. Florida has become a hotspot for book bans, accounting for over 40 percent of all incidents in the same period, while state legislation and coordinated pressure campaigns have contributed to widespread restrictions on literature access.

Since July 2021, PEN America has documented almost 6,000 instances of banned books, with 3,362 book bans affecting 1,557 unique titles in the latest school year. The reasons behind this surge include vaguely-worded state laws and the influence of advocacy groups, which have pressured school districts to remove books due to concerns over penalties, legal consequences, and criminal actions.

Read the full report here.

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