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Fight Against Book Banning

An Update on CBC’s Work in the Fight Against Book Bans.

As the book challenges began to build, CBC staff took steps to strategize with other national organizations in the fight and to create CBC materials for teachers, librarians, and booksellers to display in support of the freedom to read. 

Since 2018, we’ve compiled lists of diverse books in dozens of categories—the books that are seeing the most bans—and gathered a directory of the resources being created by the ALA, ABA, WNDB, publishers, and other groups. We also brought to the fore books that seemed to be experiencing some pre-censorship in several of our award programs. 

In 2020, we began adding posters of leading local community figures and free speech advocates to the Get Caught Reading program.

In 2021, we contacted the 2 teachers who started #FReadom and, with their approval, produced 6 downloadable coloring pages and sent those out to our over 20,000 opt-in librarian, teacher, and bookseller email list.

In 2022, Kathy Ishizuka of SLJ commissioned artist Chan Chau to create a Pride Love & Acceptance poster, and CBC paid for an honorarium and the printing and mailing to 1,100 schools, libraries, and bookstores. 

Also in 2022, CBC was one of the first to sign onto the ALA statement against book banning, and we created our own tagline for social media: Free Country. Free to Read Any Book.

In July 2022, the CBC Graphic Novel Committee launched a Keep Bans Off Our Books panel at San Diego ComicCon. We will continue that panel as a regular feature, including at NYComicCon this fall.

In 2023, we formed a standing CBC Fight Against Book Bans Committee to continue to ensure that the children’s publishing community’s voices are a part of the many essential campaigns in motion at key moments and year-round.

This summer, the CBC staff added CBC Stands United Against Book Bans with a link to ALA’s site to our email signatures and prominently on our home page.

We are signees to the PEN, AAP, and other proclamations and have worked to let our full 125 publisher CBC membership aware of opportunities to be signees, as well. We are all in on social media for every new initiative, forum, or event, and are also an official sponsor of Banned Books Week.

Most recently, we created Keep Bans Off Our Books stickers and mailed them out in 2,000 CBC Free Speech Kits this August and September, a record response for one of our programs, and the number continues to climb.

To the children’s publishing community, we say that due to the very nature of the work all of you do every day, you are by definition for free speech and against book bans. We all just want everyone, especially young people, to be able to read the books they want to read. It’s a simple premise but one that’s gotten complicated, distorted, and scary, and we stand with all the organizations, book creators, teachers, librarians, booksellers, and community leaders, especially the young student activists, in this epic struggle central to our democracy, and more important, to the health and well-being of young people.

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