Banned Books Week highlights the need for everyone to have access to a wide range of reading materials. Who do book bans target the most?
An estimated 41% of book challenges and bans are against books that feature LGBTQIA+ characters.
An estimated 40% of book challenges and bans are against books that feature characters of color.
Of all the statistics about book banning, this is the one that is most alarming. We need diverse stories so that everyone can see themselves within the pages of a book (or two or three), and so that we can build empathy, understanding, and compassion through reading other people’s stories. Imagine what it would feel like if a book was banned simply because there’s a character like you in it? What message does it send to you about where you belong?
To paraphrase educator Rudine Sims Bishop: “[People] need windows and mirrors. They need mirrors in which they see themselves and windows through which they see the world”.