Banned Books: Censorship in Leander, Texas

Triptych of images. Top right corner is a photo of Gene Luen Yang. Smiling wearing a gray polo and glasses. Bottom right is an image of a book being handed from one hand to another. It says Books Unite Us Censorship Divides Us. Left gives all the info for the event Gene Luen Yang in conversation with Leander, Texas, educator Alexis Huddleston and parent Stephani Bercu. LIVE on Facebook!

Banned Books Week got kicked off early this year with a conversation about the recent censorship in Leander, Texas, which has affected several graphic novels. Organized by Betsy Gomez (BBW Coalition Coordinator, CBLDF Coalition Director) and moderated by Nora Pelizzari (National Coalition Against Censorship), the conversation included comics creator Gene Luen Yang, high school teacher Alexis Huddleston, and parent and volunteer Stephani Bercu.

You can watch the entire event here. If you are new to the situation in Leander, Texas, this is the perfect jumping-on point. The discussion lays out the origin of the conflict and how it has played out over the past year. As Pelizzari points out, the situation in Leander is not just an attack on a single book but an attack on an entire curriculum.

You’re not banning the topic, you’re just banning a nuanced discussion of that topic.

Gene Luen Yang

What is wonderful about the conversation was getting three different points of view — creator, teacher, and parent. In addition to discussing the history of the Leander issue they cover emotional nuance, misconceptions of comics in education, the escalation of challenges, and advice for facing your own book challenges.

Be sure to follow #BannedBooksWeek and #BooksUniteUs on social media for more great events this coming week, including a conversation with Honorary Chair Jason Reynolds.