A Missouri law banned about 300 books and graphic novels — including Batman, watchmen, The Walking Dead and more – in schools across the state.
About 297 books have been banned altogether or barred from review in at least 11 Missouri state school districts, according to PEN America. The ban comes in response to Missouri Senate Bill 775, which took effect in August and makes providing students with novels containing “sexual conduct” a Class A misdemeanor. by the ban include Game of Thrones: The Graphic Novel Series, The Handmaid’s Tale: The Graphic Novel, The Complete Maus: A Survivor’s Tale, Gender Queer: A Memoir, Watchmen, American Gods and much more. The ban also targets comics such as Batman: The Killing Joke, Batman: White Knight, Batman: The Dark Knight Strikes Back, X-Men: Age of X andThe Walking Dead.
Authors and artists react to Missouri book ban
In response, a number of authors and artists, including Laurie Halse Anderson, MT Anderson, Margaret Atwood, Derf Backderf, Alison Bechdel, Khalil Bendib, Matt Bors, Ellen Crenshaw, Mike Curato, Juno Dawson, Evan Dorkin, Neil Gaiman, Roxane Gay, Deborah Hopkinson, Miles Hyman, Kelly Jensen, Lita Judge, Rupi Kaur, Maia Kobabe, Lois Lowry, Carmen Maria Machado, Dylan Meconis, Ryan North, David Small, Amir Soltani, Art Spiegelman, Colleen AF Venable — a wrote an open letter to Missouri schools and districts protesting book bans. Part of the letter reads: “These bans pose a serious threat to the freedom to read, to the detriment of students across the state. These bans were enacted largely in response to a provision of the bill 775 of the Senate, which makes the distribution of material deemed “harmful to minors” to Missouri students by any school official (educators, librarians, student teachers, coaches) or by any visitor to a school, a misdemeanor punishable by fines or prison sentences.
“What’s the definition of ‘harmful’? Who decides? The new law focuses on ‘visual depictions’ and ‘sexual material,’ and some school boards and officials have interpreted it broadly, removing a startling range of material: dozens of graphic novels and comics, books with photography, memoirs and art history books In the ten weeks since the provision came into effect, at least 11 school districts have banned more than 300 books. Several districts have permanently banned the books from their libraries. In one district, more than 200 books have been removed from library shelves for an indefinite period of “review.”
Source: PEN America