By Jackson Beach
Over the past few years in America, particularly this year, American schools and communities have suffered from the banning of books, especially realistic fiction. This is because school boards and community members and organizations are unwilling to accept the fact that during the pandemic, deep faults were exposed in society and calls for change in treatment of Americans such as blacks and indigenous peoples were made. They are incapable of accepting change due to being indoctrinated with the idea that certain things should be “the norm” in our country, whether they be heterosexual or uniracial couples rather than homosexual, lesbian, or mixed race couples and certain historical figures and events being censored or not even discussed. Such an example of a book banning was when a Tennessee school district banned the iconic graphic novel MAUS from its curriculum due to being appalled by things they found abnormal such as profanity and nudity.
However, certain people, especially authors and illustrators, do not approve of this activity and have made it their mission to go against the norm and explain the issue of censorship in their own unique styles and passions. For example, in the 2021 children’s novel The Last Cuentista by Donna Barba Higuera, the book’s antagonists make it their mission to wipe out humanity’s memories of stories and knowledge so that they can start anew without any memories of the past once they settle on a new planet after being frozen for centuries; the book’s protagonist Petra makes it her mission to stop their plans even though it is “against the norm”. Regarding the discussion of topics not discussed normally in America, the 2021 children’s book Unspeakable: The Tulsa Race Massacre discusses the brutality of the titular racial incident in 1921that was covered up for 75 years in a way that even the youngest of children can understand so that they can reflect how racism is prevalent in our country and that covering up even the most obscurest of its tragedies won’t solve the problem.
Censorship, even though authority figures and organizations feel they are doing the right thing, has proven to allow other problems such as microtransactions, religious and sexual harassment, and especially book banning to run rampant across our country, especially during the 2020s. This is because these books provide different perspectives that allow people to come together and realize what needs to be done to minimize them and create paths of change for America and the world at large.