Newsletter: Should Certain Books Be Banned In Schools?

Should Certain Books be Banned Debate


Chris Rufo
Senior Fellow of the Manhattan Institute


Yascha Mounk
Political Scientist,  Author,
Associate Professor at Johns Hopkins University



new debate about the controversy behind banning books in schools and libraries

A closer look at the genres of books getting targeted by these bans

A closer look at the genres of books getting targeted by these bans



A historic number of book bans in schools have occurred in the past few years than ever before. Just this week, book publisher Penguin Random House joined forces with PEN America to sue a school district over banning books like Gender QueerStamped, and Fun Home in schools. It’s a stunning culmination, where books about gender, race, and sexuality like these have increasingly become targets of school boards and parents wanting a say on what children should be reading and learning about in class. Book bans themselves are not new, but it has been taken to another level, like challenging hundreds of books at once at one school library.

To Kill A MockingbirdThe Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, and Animal Farm are a few examples of classic books that have been either challenged or banned across the country at some point, whether because of racial tension, anti-patriotic views, or accusations of “obscenity” or “pornography.” Supporters of these bans say children shouldn’t be exposed to inappropriate topics at the wrong age, while those who disagree argue children need to read these books to develop critical thinking and empathy and provide a bigger, more diverse picture of the world — and denying that access is a threat to free speech and democracy.

Arguing “Yes” to this week’s question is Chris Rufo, who is an activist and senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute. Chris was also recently appointed by Ron DeSantis as a Trustee at the New College of Florida. Arguing “No” is author, democracy scholar, and Persuasion founder Yascha Mounk. Yascha joins us for his fifth appearance on the program, where he’s debated if Western democracy is threatening suicide and whether the New York Times has lost its way.

Now, we closely examine this topic and ask: Should Certain Books Be Banned in School? You can listen now on our podcast or your local public radio station. (Note: the podcast contains explicit language.) Join the debate on Twitter and our new website.



Nearly half of the banned books are in the Young Adult genre.

Are young children reading these types of books?













Should Certain Books be Banned in Schools?


“Local school districts that elect a local school board in… different jurisdictions across the country should have the ability to select which books they want to be taught in the classroom and select which values they want to be transmitting to their kids.”

Chris Rufo



“Banning books in schools by faraway legislatures is an attack on the First Amendment. It is a betrayal of the American culture of free speech. It is deeply un-American, and that’s why I oppose such efforts.”

Yascha Mounk



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