My latest story will be on how school communities across Oklahoma are handling book challenges — which are more political and rapidly spread by social media. Calls to ban books are made much more frequently online and at school board meetings than actual, formal challenges submitted to schools, I found.

Check out our website for that story, which will post soon.

Meanwhile, here are some news stories about banned books (this is Banned Books Week, after all.)

The Frontier fact-checked some recent claims about banned books in Oklahoma, and what led a high school English teacher to leave her Norman classroom. They found false information repeated by local and national news outlets.

A Michigan town turned on its librarians and public library amid controversy over one of the books I've written about (and read): “Gender Queer: A Memoir.” Here's an excerpt from the story in The Washington Post: “People in this western Michigan farming town said the Patmos Library was ‘grooming' children and, according to fliers that one group printed, promoting an ‘LGBTQ ideology.' They said bookshelves meant for young readers featured same-sex pornography. They called the staff pedophiles, McLaughlin said. Then one August morning, they voted to defund Jamestown’s only public library...”

Finally, The Atlantic debunked the notion that being banned actually helps authors sell books by making the titles more desirable. Most book challenges — a staggering 82% to 97% — are never reported in the news, and that's a crucial factor.

Thoughts, suggestions, news tips? Feel free to contact me by email or on Twitter.

— Jennifer Palmer

Recommended Reading

  • Joy Hofmeister is including a $5,000 teacher pay raise in her agency's budget request, which will be presented to the board Thursday. [Tulsa World]
  • The state Supreme Court struck down a 2021 ban on school mask mandates, siding with schools' local control over such precautions. [The Oklahoman]
  • Wildfires, flooding and heat waves are intensifying – and school buildings aren't up to the task of weathering these disasters. These extreme weather outbreaks will increasingly impact and disrupt learning. [The Hechinger Report]

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