Efforts to ban books gathered pace rapidly this past year, with hundreds of titles cut across thousands of schools — often those tackling ‘culture wars’ issues like gender, sexuality and race, a study shows.
There were 2,532 instances of individual book bans affecting 1,648 titles at some 5,000 schools with 4 million students in the 2021-2022 school year, the anti-censorship group PEN America said in a report on Monday.
The group described a push by politicians and newly-formed parents’ organizations to pull texts from school libraries that it compares to the anti-communist McCarthy era and ‘Moral Majority’ purges of the early 1980s.
‘This rapidly accelerating movement has resulted in more and more students losing access to literature that equips them to meet the challenges and complexities of democratic citizenship,’ said report author Jonathan Friedman.
The banned books were often young adult fiction texts, often those dealing with lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and…