“To Kill a Mockingbird” and “Of Mice and Men” are questioned for their inappropriate content.

Particular books have been established as key aspects of English classes all across schools in the United States, but in recent years, activists have worked to ban these books by targeting local school boards. Some states have already taken action on these complaints. The American Library Association (ALA) said in a preliminary report that it received an “unprecedented” 330 reports of book challenges. In Oklahoma, a bill was introduced by the State Senate that would prohibit public school libraries from keeping books on hand that focused on sexual activity, sexual identity or gender identity. In Tennessee, the McMinn County Board of Education voted to remove the Pulitzer Prize-winning graphic novel “Maus” from an eighth-grade curriculum on the Holocaust because of curse words and nudity.

The most frequent targets are books about race, gender and sexuality, like George M. Johnson’s “All the Boys Aren’t,” Jonathan Evison’s “Lawn Boy,” Maia Kobabe’s “Gender Queer” and Toni Morrison’s “The Bluest Eye.” “All Boys Aren’t Blue” has been targeted for removal in at least 14 states.

Most of this opposition stems from social media. Many parents have seen Google Docs or spreadsheets of contentious titles posted on Facebook by local chapters of organizations. These parents then go on to ask their school board questions about particular books. Howard Zinn’s “A People’s History of the United States” and Margaret Atwood’s “The Handmaid’s Tale” are among the texts listed by the advocacy group No Left Turn in Education as being “used to propagate radical and racist views to students.” Those who want specific books banned argue that this is a matter of parental rights and choice and that all parents should be able to influence their children’s upbringing.

“Of Mice and Men” and “To Kill a Mockingbird” are also being challenged for their contents. Parents’ objections included arguments that “the novel marginalized characters of color, celebrated ‘white saviorhood’ and used racial slurs dozens of times without addressing their derogatory nature,” according to The New York Times. In the Mukilteo School District in Washington State, the school board voted to remove “To Kill a Mockingbird.” The book is no longer a requirement in these schools, but it has yet to be banned completely.

“It will certainly have a chilling effect,” said Deborah Caldwell-stone, director of the American Library Association’s office for intellectual freedom. She said that aggressively policing books for inappropriate content and banning titles could limit students’ exposure to great literature, including towering canonical works. “If you focus on five passages, you’ve got obscenity,” Ms. Caldwell-Stone said. “If you broaden your view and read the work as a whole, you’ve got Toni Morrison’s ‘Beloved.’”

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