Stand Against Book Banning

Today I’m writing about the banning of books and urging you to join a Banned Book Club … or if you can’t find one, to start one.

Tell me … do these words look familiar? Do they seem dangerous?

… somehow we weathered and witnessed a nation that isn’t broken, but simply unfinished … striving to form our union with purpose … to compose a country committed to all cultures, colors, characters and conditions … we seek harm to no one and harmony for all … the hill we climb if only we dare.

How about these?

“Scout,” said Atticus, “n*****-lover is just one of those terms that don’t mean anything – like snot-nose. It’s hard to explain – ignorant, trashy people use it when they think somebody’s favoring N*****s over and above themselves. It’s slipped into usage with some people like ourselves, when they want a common, ugly term to label somebody.
“You aren’t really a n*****-lover, then, are you?
“I certainly am. I do my best to love everybody…I’m hard put, sometimes – baby, it’s never an insult to be called what somebody thinks is a bad name. It just shows you how poor that person is, it doesn’t hurt you.”

I don’t need to tell you where these words came from or who wrote them. I don’t need to tell you because, like me, you love words and you read and write a lot of them. And like me, you grew up with free access to all kinds of books, guided by teachers and librarians who knew how important it was and how important it would be (especially for those of us who did not come from well-educated, literature- loving families) to learn that there were, in fact, all kinds of people living out loud in all kinds of places that we knew nothing about. Once introduced to the likes of Mark Twain, Kahlil Gibran, Harper Lee, Toni Morrison, Anton Chekov, Fyodor Dostoyevsky, James Joyce, and poets like Keats and Shelley and Pablo Neruda and and and and …. there could be no going back.

So, like me, I imagine that you too are stunned and angered by what appears to be way more than just a slippery slope when it comes to banning and removing books from school curriculums & libraries. Knowing where it has ended in the past, we have to wonder where will it end for us? Back in 1953 Ray Bradbury wrote a chilling dystopian novel, Fahrenheit 451, about an American society in which books were personified and outlawed, and where a special squad of firemen made a career of burning any that might be found. If you haven’t read it or haven’t read it in awhile, now might be a good time to pick up a copy.

There is so much in the news these days about books being banned in schools, not only in Florida, but other states as well, that I decided to share with you some of what I’ve been gathering. As always, it’s your choice whether to “click” or not.

My favorite online journal, Persimmon Tree, has some ‘food for thought’. They offer an upcoming forum with an invitation to share.

The move to restrict access to information and ideas seems to be coming from all sides of the political spectrum—though most prominently, and effectively, from those on the right. And the reason most often given for banning or revising a book is that the material makes someone uncomfortable. Yet doesn’t democracy depend on a public capable of making informed choices among conflicting ideas, no matter how discomforting they may be? How does censorship fit with the bedrock principles of free speech and freedom of expression? If, as some on the right seem to now advocate, we erase or restrict access to information on troubling aspects of the past—and present—how do we avoid falling into similar troubles in the future?

And before I give you the rest of my list of links, here’s a poem by Linda Pastan that I dearly love and thought you might too.

The Bookstall

by Linda Pastan

Just looking at them
I grow greedy, as if they were
freshly baked loaves
waiting on their shelves
to be broken open—that one
and that—and I make my choice
in a mood of exalted luck,
browsing among them
like a cow in sweetest pasture.

For life is continuous
as long as they wait
to be read—these inked paths
opening into the future, page
after page, every book
its own receding horizon.
And I hold them, one in each hand,
a curious ballast weighting me
here to the earth.

And now a list of stuff you might find interesting.

The 15 most banned books in America this school year

Amanda Gorman on her inauguration poem being banned at Miami school: ‘I am gutted’

Amanda Gorman’s inaugural poem ‘The Hill We Climb’ was added to the book bans taking over Florida elementary schools

Amanda Gorman’s Book Sales Hit A New Peak After A Florida School Banned ‘The Hill We Climb’

The shine of Amanda Gorman’s work can’t be dimmed.

School librarians face a new penalty in the banned-book wars: Prison.

Librarians could face years of imprisonment and tens of thousands in fines for providing reading materials.

School librarians vilified as ‘arm of Satan’ as book-banning wars heat up across U.S.

There are signs on people’s lawns calling librarians pedophiles.” They face pressure from principals and administra­tors over book displays, and “neighbors talk about them being an arm of Satan.”

Authors of targeted books speak out about what their experience has been like over the past few years as book bans proliferate throughout the United States.

Perhaps my favorite … this gentle man reading from the ABCs

And from my avid reader & courageous rascal friend Kay DeLay, here’s a string of some of her most recent Facebook posts.



You’ve probably heard about the parent who is working to get The Bible banned in some school districts in Utah, where one legislator has declared that book to be “a challenging read for children … best taught and understood in the home, around the hearth, with family.” Wouldn’t it be nice if that could happen withTo Kill A Mockingbird and Gender Queer as well?

I hate to say it, but the list goes on and on and on. If you have one or more links you’d like to add, you can do it here!

BUT LET’S FINISH ON A BRIGHTER NOTE … fighting words from Amanda herSelf …

“This is not only a hill we will climb, but a hill we will conquer!”

AND A BIT OF UPCOMING GOOD STUFF from my long-time writing companion, Ann Dudley… a fabulous music event you can watch from anywhere!


Wednesday, June 14, 7:00 pm via Zoom

Project Voice is the local Oregon-Washington program of the American Friends Service Committee (AFSC). For over 19 years, Project Voice director, Pedro Sosa, has worked with immigrant communities to facilitate Know Your Rights workshops, create Rapid Response Teams to respond to immigration raids, advocate for just and humane immigration policies and to foster leaders within immigrant communities. Project Voice strives to create and support policies that honor the dignity and humanity of immigrants.

Please join us on Wednesday, June 14 at 7:00 pm, via Zoom, to enjoy the lively and inspiring music of Los Jornaleros del Norte and to learn more about the work of Project Voice.

To register for the concert and/or make a donation, go to You will be sent the zoom link to attend.  Hope to see you there!

So, Fellow Rascals & Lovers of Books … let’s get together again soon, and between now & then, please do find a good book and some “good trouble” to get into.

Published by Sulima Malzin

This 'Aging Rascal & Occasional Writer' invites you to embrace the world through her open window of poetry, art, activism, music, and humor.

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Loved The Bookstall. However, I cannot seem to open Kay’s postings?

Glad you loved The Bookstall! Kay’s postings are not meant to be opened, just offered as visuals. Be sure to add a link or two if you come upon something interesting to you.

I'd love your thoughts, please share!x