15 Books I’ve Reviewed on the Krause Banned Books List
What happened: Recently a Texas congressman compiled a list of hundreds of books he feels could cause students distress based on their race or sex and has asked school libraries to alert him about how many titles they have on their shelves. The governor has been conducting similar inquiries, and it looks like at least one district has pulled over 400 books from their shelves in response to pressure from politicians and some parents.
It seems really weird to me that politicians in a state which values personal freedom over protecting the community from a potentially deadly virus through mask wearing, think they should decide what people read. Asking people to wear masks is government overreach, but restricting access to certain kinds of books is okay? Just seems weird to me is all I’m saying.
Content Notes and My Reviews
If you’ve followed my blog, you know that I write content notes on all my reviews so that readers can find books they want to read and hopefully it’s easier to find books that represent them, too. Not every kid is ready for or interested in every book. Not every book is appropriate for every kid at a certain age or experience.
Parents have the right to decide what their kids can and should read. That’s part of our job. It’s why I advocate for reading with your kids and looking up reviews online that describe whatever content young readers might encounter within a book. What parents don’t get to do, though, is decide what other people’s kids are allowed to read.
Representation matters, too. You’ll notice from this list that 14 of the 15 books I’ve reviewed here feature LGBTQ+ characters in them. (The 15th is a nonfiction book about combating racism.) Which makes this list really seem like it’s targeting LGBTQ+ readers. In fact, most of the books on the massive list include LGBTQ+ representation. There are a lot of history books and biology books on there, too. It’s a weird list, honestly.
I keep trying to make it make sense. Like okay, is this about graphic sexual content? No, it can’t be, because there are some really popular YA books that have very explicit sexual content released in the years referenced on the sheet that are not listed. Some of the fiction books listed have very little sexual content (kissing maybe?). Anyway, it’s odd.
And not that it making sense would make it okay. It wouldn’t. It would just be nice to be like ah, okay, I see where they’re coming from. The closest I can get to that is that it appears to me that some people believe that the existence of gay people is something we must hide from ALL high school children? Also the existence of racism. And history. And sex.
Discomfort and Literature
I think the idea that discomfort is something we can’t let our kids experience is, frankly, ridiculous. Life is uncomfortable. Relationships are packed with discomfort. Sometimes we make mistakes in front of other people. Or we’re wrong. Or we hurt people and have to humble ourselves and apologize. There is no life safe from discomfort.
Also, literature is supposed to make us uncomfortable. It’s supposed to challenge the boundaries of our empathy, to make us think about experiences outside our own. To put us in someone else’s shoes for a moment. To make us imagine what a moment, real or imagined, is really like.
There Really Is a Giveaway at the End of This Post
Anyway. I searched the archives of my reviews and looked for books I’ve read that are on the list circulating the internet right now. Here are 15 books and the links to my reviews. At the bottom is a giveaway with a chance to win one of ten books. Details below.
Note: This list contains affiliate links which do not cost you anything to use but which generate a small amount of financial support for this blog.
15 Books I’ve Reviewed on the Krause Banned Books List
Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli
What you need to know: A boy is blackmailed to keep the fact that he’s gay from coming out and to protect the identity of his secret pen pal. M/M romance. A charming and slightly salty story of first love.
Published on April 7, 2015 | My Review
Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Saenz
What you need to know: A once-in-a-lifetime friendship between two boys. M/M romance. Complex characters who are opposites. Lots of laughter and heartache to be had here.
Published February 21, 2012 | My Review
Have you read any of the banned books?
You can find the whole list of 850 books here. I’ve read 15 from the list, and tons more have been on my To Be Read list and are already on my shelves. I feel more motivated than ever to read and review some of those books so that hopefully more readers who are interested in them can find and read them. It looks like someone has also added them to the lists on Goodreads, so you can add interesting-looking titles to your reading lists on there.
Let me know if you’ve read any of the books on this list or the full list.
I’m giving away some books. Ten books, to be precise. I’ll order them from Bookshop, which supports indie booksellers, and choose ten people from the Rafflecopter below. Each winner can choose which book they want from the list of 850 books (must be in stock at Bookshop and $25 or less) and must have a US mailing address.
There’s a free entry, just for landing on the page and reading long enough to find the giveaway, and there are some other ways to boost your chances by talking about the giveaway and finding me on social media. So think about which book you would choose!a Rafflecopter giveaway