Silenced in the Library: Banned Books in America

Bloomsbury. 2nd ed. Nov. 2023. 320p. ISBN 9798765114155. pap. $39.95. PRO MEDIA
The number of banned and challenged books in the United States has reached an all-time high since the American Library Association started keeping records over 20 years ago. In this reissue of his 2017 book, Jarvis (English, Eureka Coll.; editor, Make ’Em Laugh) offers a listing of nearly 150 titles that have been banned or challenged in schools and libraries, ranging from Where’s Waldo?? to Moby Dick. The book’s seven sections correspond to the topics of often-banned books: race, religion, sex, sexual orientation, drugs and alcohol, and bad behavior (plus graphic novels). The books are also listed by title and author. For each book, there’s a synopsis, discussion of its reception, and a summary of challenges and ban attempts and their results. Since the publication of Jarvis’s first edition, most of the challenges and bans that the ALA has tracked have been YA titles with LGBTQIA+ and BIPOC characters. The accessible format is useful for identifying past challenges, and each entry includes citations to reviews, articles, and any court cases.
VERDICT A solid reference book for all libraries, useful for librarians, board members, elected officials, and interested citizens.
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