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Little Free Library hits back at book bans in US schools

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Little Free Library hits back at book bans in US schools by Tree Elven on 30/06/2023
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What are your thoughts on this 48-second ad by Little Free Library? The organisation is present in the USA and several other countries in the shape of book-sharing boxes on posts where those with limited resources can access books they may not otherwise be able to read. This campaign points out the principle - which most of us would likely agree with - that bans just stir our natural curiosity to find out more. However, many argue that this principle is itself now under challenge as blanket narratives dull our critical thinking, opposing views rather than discussion/understanding become entrenched norms, and discernment fatigue sets in. As free speech organisation PEN America reports, there's been a sharp rise in challenges to and subsequent bans of books in schools, in particular in the areas of race, sexuality and gender topics. This is attributed in large part to parental concern over 'unsuitable' material being made readily available to impressionable young minds which have yet to find their way. Supporters point to the need for all youngsters to be able to access relatable stories which enable them to feel they belong and can be themselves. The debate is heated, and the topic of banned books in schools has already led to counter-measures by activists, such as a pop-up consisting of rainbow-painted shelves of banned books in Ben & Jerry's ice-cream stores.

Keywords: Little Free Library 'Unbanned Book Club', book bans in US schools, race representation children's literature, gender and sexuality US children, children's education, Venables, Bell + Partners

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