We are proud to join over 400 signatories, including 16 fellow publishers, over 50 bookstores, nearly 80 organizations, and over 250 authors, teachers and librarians, to sign the National Coalition Against Censorship's statement against censorship in schools, and in support of historically marginalized students.
Most of the challenged books address topics previously underrepresented in libraries and school curriculums: books that address racism and other forms of discrimination, and those that include positive multicultural representation. While presented as ways to "depoliticize school" or "protect kids" from so-called challenging topics, these book bans are clearly attempts to further stigmatize LGBTQ students and students of color, and to promote nationalism at the expense of education.
As publisher of several books cited as problematic or inappropriate — such as the gender-inclusive sex education books by Cory Silverberg and Fiona Smyth and social justice-oriented picture books by Innosanto Nagara — we strongly condemn these attempts to censor school libraries.
As the National Coalition Against Censorship's statement (see below) concludes: Freedom of expression ensures that we can meet the challenges of a changing world. That freedom is critical for the students who will lead the world in the years ahead. We must fight to defend it. #BooksNotBans
December 8, 2021 New York, NY-- The National Coalition Against Censorship (NCAC) leads a coalition of over 400 signatories in condemning the coordinated political attack on books in schools playing out across the country. As a staunchly non-partisan organization dedicated to defending students’ right to read for nearly 50 years, NCAC is gravely concerned by the increasing number of school districts allowing the personal viewpoints of some to determine what books all students are allowed to access.
Policies already exist in most districts to allow individual concerned parents to influence what their own children read. This year, time and again, we have seen those policies ignored and repeatedly violated as books are removed without proper review based on the personal opinions of particular groups of people. We have also seen increasing reports of threats to the livelihood and safety of librarians, teachers, school administrators and school board officials who do not accede to the demands of these would-be censors. No individual or group has the right to impose their beliefs on others. School officials, as government actors, have a First Amendment responsibility to ensure that no particular viewpoint or belief is allowed to dictate what all students can learn and read.
NCAC is joined by over 400 signatories, including nearly 80 organizations, over 50 bookstores and 17 publishers and over 250 individual stakeholders, comprising authors, teachers and librarians.
Full statement and list of signatories available here
A media factsheet is available here
More information on the First Amendment in schools is available here
Guidelines and best practices for book challenge policies are available here