Austin Women: Diverse Books for All Coalition on Today's Diverse Books Environment

Texas’ Banned Books Crisis

Representation has a bigger effect on children’s minds than many are aware of.

Recently, banned books have caused an uproar of controversy outside of schools and within government official offices. Many believe the regulations placed upon children’s curricula have a direct correspondence with the recent decline in academic performance and are fighting against this new wave of book banning.

The Diverse Books for All Coalition is working to end this strict confinement and reinvent the classroom into a place of inclusion for all, one book at a time. Led by First Book, a national nonprofit and social enterprise, the coalition was founded in 2022 and now consists of more than 40 nonprofits and member organizations serving families and children in need. Since its founding, First Book President and CEO Kyle Zimmer, Ernestine Benedict, chief communications officer of Zero to Three (a nonprofit focused on early child development), and other Coalition members have been working collaboratively to make great strides toward change.  

The banning of books as a concept has always been around. Only recently, however, has it become largely problematic due to its magnified extent. What started as a unanimous decision to protect kids from provocative titles has evolved into a much more subjective argument over what’s deemed acceptable for young readers. Before 2020, the majority of complaints regarding school library book appropriateness came from individual parents rather than large private businesses or government officials.

As the pandemic began to spread, there was a heightened sense of awareness and overall caution regarding the content younger children consumed. This caused a drastic influx of complaints to emerge as soon as schools reopened. Over the past three years, there has been a steady incline in the number of books removed from libraries due to their “inappropriate” nature. (Texas sits at number one in the nation for banned books.)

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