Fight Book Bans and Help Teachers Get Diverse Children’s Books
Join RYW to Fight Against Banned and Challenged Books
Read Your World will be celebrating our 12th annual Multicultural Children’s Book Day in January 2025. Subscribe here to be in the loop about all upcoming activities. As part of that event, we ship Read Your World Teacher Celebration Kits free of charge to classroom teachers.
Each kit includes:
- three diverse children’s books
- book swag for their students
- a teacher’s guide for one of the books so that they can celebrate in their classrooms
And you can help!
For every $100 we receive in donations, we are able to send out one Read Your World Teacher Celebration Kit to give teachers the tools they need. Please join the cause to equip classroom teachers with diverse books from a variety of voices. Any donation of any size helps!
Your donation is a gift that keeps giving as teachers use this kit over and over, year after year.
After you donate, you’ll be featured on our donor wall (if you grant us permission of course) and can claim your donation as a tax deduction.
As a registered 501(c)3 nonprofit, donations are the lifeblood of our organization. When you donate, you empower us to continue to raise awareness about children’s and YA books that celebrate diversity and get those books into the hands of readers. Your donation truly makes a difference in the lives of children!
What Are Banned and Challenged Books?
According to the American Library Association, banning books is the removal of materials “based upon the objections of a person or group.” Challenging books is the attempt to remove or restrict these materials. Essential to note is that banning or challenging books “do not simply involve a person expressing a point of view; rather, they are an attempt to remove material from the curriculum or library, thereby restricting the access of others.”
Why Are Books Banned and Challenged?
Most frequently, books are challenged or banned out of a stated desire to protect children from material deemed explicit or offensive. The difficulty lies in the fact that these terms are subjective.
What material is appropriate for a particular child should ultimately be determined by that child’s caregivers, not a school or government. No one person or group should have the power to make that determination for all children in a school or locality. Indeed, our U.S. Constitution protects the right to freedom of expression and access to information.
Book bans and challenges are often used to suppress the voices of historically marginalized groups, such as LGBTQIA and BIPOC. Because their works often challenge the dominant narrative, they are seen as threatening to long-held beliefs and are therefore vulnerable to book bans and challenges.
Why We Should Fight Book Bans
All children deserve to see themselves and their experiences reflected in books. Equally important, all children need to read about experiences other than their own, in order to gain empathy and understanding of our diverse society.
Good books act as windows, allowing us access to other ways of life, and mirrors, reflecting our own experiences. Yet according to the Children’s Cooperative Book Center, the percentage of children’s books featuring diverse characters is still far below their actual representation in society, and only a portion of these books are created by creators from that culture/community. Read Your World exists to rectify this disparity.For many children, the library (in particular the school library) is their primary — and often their only — means of accessing books. Removing materials from these libraries makes it prohibitively difficult for children to access these books. Book bans mean that children and teens have little opportunity to read books that can act as windows and doors. This deficit of high-quality diverse books negatively impacts the self-esteem of marginalized children and impedes the ability of all children to build empathy for others.
How to Fight Book Bans
There are many meaningful and impactful actions you can take to fight book bans:
- Make your voice heard
- at school board meetings.
- at legislative hearings.
- in the local press.
- in discussions with friends and neighbors.
- Read banned and challenged books with your children.
- Make a donation of diverse books to your local library, school, or classroom.
- Participate in Banned Books Week
- Donate to Read Your World, a 501(c)3 non-profit organization, supporting book access.
How Your Donations to Read Your World Support Book Access
Your donation — however large or small — makes a tremendous difference!Read Your World is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization with more than a decade’s worth of experience in supporting access to diverse books through multiple ongoing initiatives:
- Free Books for Teachers
- Diverse Booklists and Activities for Teachers and Parents
- Free Classroom Kits
- Instagram Live series of interviews with diverse kidlit creators
- Other live events, such as our annual Virtual Party and our panel Unique Perspectives on Hispanic/Latinx Children’s Books on Raising Awareness About Climate Change
Through all of these projects, we amplify the work of authors, illustrators, and publishers of diverse books for children and teens. And we help put books into the hands of the children who want and need them.
Help Us Fight Against Banned and Challenged Books
In the current climate of challenged and banned books, it is more important than ever to get diverse books into the hands of readers. Kids need to both see themselves reflected back in a book and see people who are not like them. Reading fiction has been scientifically validated as an effective way to foster empathy.