Book bans are not new, but they’re rising at a rapid rate in school districts across America and right here in Georgia, driven by new right wing laws and regulations limiting the kinds of books children and teens can access. At Charis we have always known that our stories matter and that for so many of us stories saved our lives.
That's why Charis is very honored to be the very first stop on the Banned Books Week tour of the South sponsored by Penguin Random House, the Freedom to Read Foundation, PEN America, and Little Free Library.
The Banned Book Wagon will be pulling up to Charis' big parking lot on Sunday, October 1st from 1 pm-4 pm and will feature a selection of 12 books that are currently being banned and challenged across the country. Guests will be able to select one book for free! At 4 pm, the Banned Wagon will pack up and head off to its next destination, dropping banned books in Little Free Libraries along the way, in its mission to protect the freedom to read.
This event is a great time to connect with local activists and educators who are fighting book challenges and bans throughout Georgia and plan actions. Charis will be open for in-store browsing and folks can shop for more banned books!
Around 1:30 pm frequently banned and challenged author (and Charis forever fave) Nic Stone will join us to sign books and have a short Q&A about what it means to her to have her books banned and challenged in her home state.
Agnes Scott College will also be hosting a Drag Queen Story Hour with Miss Terra Cotta Sugarbaker from 12-2 pm in the McCain Library Reading Room and we invite students and community members to join us at both events since they are both in celebration of free speech, marginalized voices, and the right for young people to see themselves in media.
Additionally, at 6:30 pm at Charis, we invite you to: Inverse Cowgirl: A Memoir--Alicia Roth Weigel in conversation with Park Cannon.
On the state of book bans in America
• Book bans are on the rise in America, driven by new laws and regulations limiting the kinds of books young people can access.
• Just 11 people were responsible for filing 60 percent of challenges in 2022. (Washington Post)
• From July to December 2022, 1,477 books were challenged, from those centering racial inequality and LGBTQ themes to classics like The Great Gatsby and Moby Dick. (PEN America)
• In many cases, books are removed from student access before they’re even read, or before objections to books are checked for basic accuracy. (PEN America)
• More than 70 percent of voters oppose book banning. (ALA)
• Book bans largely target books featuring LGBTQ+ themes or characters, characters of color or themes of race and racism, or themes of violence, sexual experiences, and health/wellbeing.
On the Banned Wagon partners
About Penguin Random House: Penguin Random House, the world’s largest trade book publisher, is dedicated to its mission to ignite a universal passion for reading by creating books for everyone. The company, which employs more than 10,000 people globally, was formed on July 1, 2013, by Bertelsmann and Pearson. As of April 1, 2020, Bertelsmann is full owner of the company. With more than 300 imprints and brands on six continents, Penguin Random House comprises adult and children’s fiction and nonfiction print and digital English- German- and Spanish-language trade book publishing businesses in more than 20 countries worldwide. With over 16,000 new titles, and more than 700 million print, audio and eBooks sold annually, Penguin Random House’s publishing lists include more than 80 Nobel Prize laureates and hundreds of the world’s most widely read authors.
The Freedom to Read Foundation
The Freedom to Read Foundation (FTRF) is a non-profit legal and educational organization affiliated with the American Library Association. FTRF protects and defends the First Amendment to the Constitution and supports the right of libraries to collect - and individuals to access - information.
How PRH is partnering with The Freedom to Read Foundation on tour: The American Library Association, which is affiliated with FTRF, is planning a Day of Action on October 7, 2023 – National Letter Writing Day. As part of PRH's partnership with FTRF, they will be creating a co-branded postcard that they’ll distribute at each Banned Wagon event, encouraging guests to write letters to school boards, elected officials, or other representatives. PRH will also be creating digital postcards for use on social media.
About PEN America
PEN America stands at the intersection of literature and human rights to protect free expression in the United States and worldwide. We champion the freedom to write, recognizing the power of the word to transform the world. Our mission is to unite writers and their allies to celebrate creative expression and defend the liberties that make it possible. Founded in 1922, PEN America is the largest of the more than 100 centers worldwide that make up the PEN International network. PEN America works to ensure that people everywhere have the freedom to create literature, to convey information and ideas, to express their views, and to access the views, ideas, and literatures of others.
How PRH is partnering with PEN America:
This fall, PEN America will be creating regional spotlights which highlight the books being banned or challenged in specific states. PRH will be distributing these regional spotlights, as well as other reference material, at our Banned Wagon events.
About Little Free Library
Little Free Library is a nonprofit organization based in St. Paul, Minnesota. Our mission is to be a catalyst for building community, inspiring readers, and expanding book access for all through a global network of volunteer-led Little Free Library book-exchange boxes. Our vision is a Little Free Library in every community and a book for every reader. We believe all people are empowered when the opportunity to discover a personally relevant book to read is not limited by time, space, or privilege.
How PRH is partnering with Little Free Library:
To raise awareness for Little Free Libraries, and to increase the number of books in circulation, they’ll be dropping banned books in Little Free Libraries along the tour route, and making a book donation after each Banned Wagon event.