Young people in the US create prohibited book reading clubs to fight against censorship

We are in a century in which talking about literary censorship sounds almost surreal, but it is happening in the United States.

The acclaimed “land of opportunity” boasts a list of various books that are banned from schools and libraries, and hard to find for sale.

Depending on each state, censorship is more or less strict. As the BBC explains, in the state of Texas, in 2021, the educational authorities banned several books from academic institutions, alleging that many parents had complained about their content.

Here began the story of Ella Scott and Alyssa Hoy, two teenagers who, upon finding out what happened, decided to defend their right to free choice of reading.

The first thing that occurred to them was to found a forbidden books reading club. Thanks to this first initiative, other groups of teenagers have launched similar clubs throughout the United States.

“We had no idea what was happening with the ban, and we felt something needed to be done to raise awareness,” explained 17-year-old Scott.

The protagonists of this story are surprised that this censorship is happening in the US, and more with the culture of freedom that is boasted in the country. Her book club started with a few classmates.

But then it expanded to include students from Vandergrift High School, a state school with 2,709 students.

“People of different grades and backgrounds come. It’s great to hear the various conversations that arise when we talk about an issue that affects us all,” adds Alyssa, also 17.

The numbers of censored books are alarming. In the 2021-2022 school year, 2,500 book bans were issued in 32 states, according to the American Library Association (ALA).

One of the affected books was ‘All Boys Aren’t Blue’ (Not all boys are blue) by George M. Johnson. It is a book about the experience of growing up as a person of color and queer.

The author himself states that “every time you write a book in which you speak about your truth, there will be people who want to silence it.”