Earlier this year, “The Diary of Anne Frank”, a book first published in 1947, now published in over 70 languages, was banned in Florida and Texas schools. The reason given was that it was “pornographic.” It’s a book of writings from the diary kept by 13-year-old Anne Frank while she was in hiding for two years with her family during the Nazi occupation of the Netherlands. The family was apprehended in 1944, and Anne Frank died of typhus in the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp in 1945.
Since 2021, 2,823 books have been banned from American public schools. Book Banning has increased over 1,100% in the past 3 years. Books containing racial and gender diversity are the main targets of these bans. Familiar and beloved titles including, ‘The Color Purple,’ ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’ and ‘Charlotte’s Web’ have been banned.
As someone who writes and illustrates books, this is extremely troubling. But on a fundamental level as a human being and an American, I felt it was even more troubling. So I designed a logo graphic that I give out freely from my website, BAN HATE – NOT BOOKS, and I recently followed that with a 4-minute video on YouTube, entitled, “Where Are We Going?” I made this video because it felt wrong not to make it. It felt wrong to remain silent about what I was seeing happening in American School & Public Libraries.
Sometimes our creativity asks this of us. It asks us to say what is difficult to say, to say the thing that maybe many of those around us think but never say. It asks us to stand up to bullies. It asks us to be fearless.
I partner with the Brooklyn Public Library to give free access for kids 13 – 21 to any book they wish to read – If you’re aged 13 to 21 in the United States and you live in a state that is banning books, you can contact the Brooklyn Public Library to receive a free BPL eCard, providing access to their full eBook collection as well as their learning databases. https://www.bklynlibrary.org/books-unbanned
Until next time …
- C.M. Ralph