Activists rally for reproductive rights.

The Intersection of Roe v. Wade and Intellectual Freedom

Riley points out the laws in many states requiring people seeking abortion to get “counseling” prior to the procedure is a direct violation of the patient’s and doctor’s intellectual freedom. These laws, often referred to as “informed consent,” focus disproportionately on the negative and rare side effects of abortion while ignoring the positive effects of the procedure and the negative effects of continuing the pregnancy.

Beloved by Toni Morrison

The Trend Continues: Books with Civil Rights Themes Challenged in Schools

Texas Republican Representative Matt Krause is investigating books that “might make students feel discomfort, guilt, anguish, or any other form of psychological distress.” The irony here, Philip Bump points out, is that all this fervor over books that create “discomfort” in teens and tweens comes on the heels of conservatives claiming censorship and “cancel culture” when Dr. Seuss Enterprises ceased publication of six books that portray racist imagery.

Central York School District Student Protests

Student Action Results in Decision by School Board to “Unfreeze” Anti-Racist Resources in Central York, PA

An anti-racist, educational resource list was “frozen” until it could be vetted by the Central York School District board. In August 2021, the Central York High School principal sent an email to teachers, with the subject line, “Banned Resources,” and instructions to “Please see the attached list of resources that are not permitted to be utilized in the classroom.”

Top Ten Most Challenged Books of 2020

ALA’s Top Ten Most Challenged Books of 2020

In 2020, more than 273 books were challenged or banned. Demands to remove books addressing racism and racial justice or those that shared the stories of Black, Indigenous, or people of color grew in number. At the same time, books addressing themes and issues of concern for LGBTQIA+ people continued to dominate the list.

This post includes the top 10 most challenged books of 2020, and a description of challenges that were reported in the news in 2020, available in the compiled booklet Field Report 2020: Banned & Challenged Books on the ALA Store.

Vail School District Slaughterhouse-five

History Repeated: the Trials of Vonnegut’s Slaughterhouse-Five

Slaughterhouse-Five has been subject to banning, challenges and even burning for decades. The American Library Association lists the title in it’s Banned and Challenged Classics page, citing a book burning in North Dakota in 1973 and a variety of bans and challenges due to language, sexual references and even because it “contains and makes references to religious matters.” ALA notes only two instances of retention after the book was challenged.