Banned Books Week, October 1-7, 2023, brings attention to the chilling issue of censorship in the U.S. today. Most books banned are by authors who are LGBTQ+, people of color and/or women and the books often deal with race and sexuality or have characters who are LGBTQ+ and/or are people of color.
PEN America counted over 3,300 instances of challenges to books being allowed in a library or school in the 2022-2023 school year, an increase of 33 percent from the 2021-2022 school year. They report that over a third of the banned books have LGBTQ+ subject matter or themes. This issue is sharply on the rise and one way to fight back is by buying and reading these books to show support to authors and prove to the publishers that readers still want these books.
The second-most banned book in the U.S. in the 2021-2022 school year, All Boys Aren’t Blue is a “memoir-manifesto” of author George M. Johnson’s young life at the intersection of being Black and queer. It’s become a go-to example of book banning and Johnson has organized around this issue since their book first began to be challenged.
The world deserves a Latinx trans paranormal story and thank you to Aiden Thomas for bringing it to us. When trans Latinx protagonist Yadriel faces transphobia from his family, he turns to brujeria and performs a ritual that summons a ghost. The book details Yadriel’s romance with the stubborn ghost, Julian.
In this sequel to the award-winning Darius the Great Is Not Okay, Darius Kellner seems to have it all, including a boyfriend–now it feels like he deserves better. The book received three starred reviews and is a Stonewall Honor Book.
Juliet Milagros Palante is trying to spend the summer figuring out being a newly out lesbian while navigating Portland, Oregon fresh out of the Bronx. Roxane Gay called this book “f*cking outstanding,” which is a pretty ringing endorsement.
Two Chinese-American girls fall in love in 1954 Red Scare U.S. in this winner of the National Book Award. Lo is the author of half a dozen sapphic novels, including the recent A Scatter of Light that is also a New York Times bestseller like Last Night at the Telegraph Club, but takes places 60 years later.
Like All Boys Aren’t Blue, Lawn Boy is a coming-of-age story that looks at what it’s like to be a queer person of color in the U.S. The American Library Association said it was the seventh most banned book in the country in 2022.
More Happy Than Not follows teen Aaron Soto as he considers a memory-alteration procedure to forgot his father’s suicide–and his feelings for a new guy, Thomas. This New York Times bestselling debut for Silvera from 2016 preceded other bestsellers They Both Die at the End and History Is All You Left Me, both also the subjects of bans.