TAA raises the alarm on book banning
In recent years an alarming number of books are being banned in U.S. public school classrooms, libraries, or both.
PEN America’s Index of School Book Bans lists 2,532 instances of individual books being banned, affecting 1,648 unique book titles and 1,261 different authors in one year’s period (July 2021 to June 2022). The American Library Association (ALA) reports that this current trend in 2022 is the highest number of book challenges since the American Library Association began recording this data over 20 years ago. The subject matter of these banned books relates to content on race and racism, gender identities, and sexual content.
While 75% of these works are fiction, non-fiction works including textbooks are also being banned. For example, history textbooks are being scrutinized for their portrayal of racial segregation, health textbooks for discussions of abortion and contraception and even math textbooks are coming under scrutiny for references to “critical race theory” or “social emotional learning”.
Banned books, be they fiction or nonfiction, are a serious cause of concern for all authors. Educators must prepare students to critically discuss and debate the full range of today’s issues and including being exposed to those issues in their classrooms. In addition, the adoption of textbooks on grounds other than academic or pedagogical ones limits the breadth of educational content that should be available for open discussion and debate of ideas to all U.S. residents. TAA’s Committee of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion recently developed a statement on the value of representation in textbooks which was subsequently adopted by the TAA Council this Fall:
“As an organization of textbook and academic authors spanning the disciplines, we strive to offer high-quality, accessible programs and materials that represent the diversity of experiences, histories, and identities that constitute today’s world. We support authors and open, civil, and inclusive discourse in creating materials so that all learners can fully participate in our sophisticated society.”
Learn more about TAA’s Committee on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (CDEI). If you are interested in joining the committee, please email email@example.com.