According to a new report published by free speech nonprofit advocacy group PEN America, Texas ranks first in the number of titles banned from school districts during the 2021-22 school year.
At least 801 books were banned across 22 Texas school districts, the report says. Titles centering on race, racism, abortion and LGBTQ issues were especially targeted. PEN America cited “political pressure” from state lawmakers and “groups involved in pushing for book bans.”
“Political pressure of this sort in Texas, South Carolina, Wisconsin, Georgia and elsewhere has been tied to hundreds of book bans,” the report states. It explicitly named Texas Rep. Matt Krause, a Republican state representative who last year sent a list of 850 books to school districts “asking them to investigate and report on which of the titles they held in libraries or classrooms.”
The most frequent books removed included “Gender Queer: A Memoir” by Maia Kobabe, which depicts Kobabe’s journey of gender identity and sexual orientation; “The Bluest Eye” by Toni Morrison; “Roe v. Wade: A Woman’s Choice?” by Susan Dudley Gold; “Out of Darkness” by Ashley Hope Pérez, which follows a love story between a Mexican American teenage girl and a Black teen boy in 1930s East Texas; and “All Boys Aren’t Blue” by George M. Johnson, a personal account of growing up black and queer in Plainfield, New Jersey.
Florida came in second, with 566 books banned. According to PEN America’s study, 32 states and 138 school districts around the country had banned books. More than 5,000 schools and four million students have been affected.