Blogger Intellectual Freedom Committee

Books about Banning Books

Children’s publishing often reflects what’s happening in the world children live in.  The COVID-19 pandemic.  Gun violence. 

And now book banning. 

I’m on the wait list for a picture book about banned books.  According to the publisher’s description, The Great Banned Books Bake-Sale, written by Aya Khalil and illustrated by Anait Semirdzhyan, stars Egyptian immigrant Kanzi, who is upset when a collection of books about immigrants and children of color disappears from her school library’s shelf.  Before this happened, she felt welcomed in her new school; now she feels confused and scared.  Supported by her classmates, Kanzi plans a bake sale where the proceeds will purchase diverse books for libraries. 

Last year, two middle grade novels tackled book banning.  David Levithan’s Answers in the Pages features fifth grader Donovan, whose mom picks up an adventure book he’s reading and objects to the two main characters having a gay relationship.  Or not?  Perhaps? Maybe?  Donovan hasn’t reached that point yet and doesn’t care.  He doesn’t think it should be banned.  And now, his community is in turmoil…and so is his family. 

Attack of the Black Rectangles by Amy Sarig King tells the story of Mac, who opens his copy of Jane Yolen’s The Devil’s Arithmetic to find words blacked out.  At first, he thinks it’s a joke, but changes his mind when he discovers what words are missing (note: Yolen’s book is about the Holocaust).  Mac won’t let adults stop him and his classmates from getting—and reading—all the facts.  But the adults in charge don’t take him seriously.

What other books have you read recently—for kids—that speak out against censorship? 

Today’s blog post was written by Maria Trivisonno, Family Engagement Specialist at Cuyahoga County Public Library in suburban Cleveland, Ohio on behalf of the ALSC Intellectual Freedom Committee.  She can be reached at

This post addresses the core competencies of I. Commitment to Client Group and IV. Knowledge, Curation, and Management of Materials.

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