August 16, 2022 (New York): The Authors Guild Banned Books Club is pleased to announce its next three featured titles. Hosted on the social reading app Fable, the Banned Books Club showcases contemporary and classic award-winning novels and memoirs currently banned in one or more school districts in the United States. Each book’s discussion is led by its author or, if the author is deceased, by someone with a special affinity for the work.
The upcoming titles are:
- All American Boys by Jason Reynolds and Brendan Kiely: Begins August 24
- To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee (led by Sungjoo Yoon): Begins September 26
- Crank byEllen Hopkins: Begins October 27
More than 2,500 readers from around the country have joined the Authors Guild Banned Books Club since it launched in April. Anyone interested can join the book club on Fable and access the moderated book discussion and other valuable resources at any time.
“Parents often get nervous when it comes to topics like drug addiction, teen pregnancy, or mental illness, unsure about the best way to talk about them,” said Ellen Hopkins, a long-time Authors Guild member, on why Crank and her other YA novels get banned so often. “Yet that’s all the more reason for public schools and libraries to select books that offer a starting point for healthy discussions. I’m excited to be a part of the Authors Guild’s Banned Books Club because it’s giving students and people everywhere the chance to read books that are directly relevant to their lives and experiences.”
Please visit authorsguild.org/bannedbooksclub for more information or to join now. The Authors Guild Banned Books Club is made possible in part by a generous grant from Hachette.
More about the upcoming Banned Book Club selections
All American Boys by Jason Reynolds and Brendan Kiely
All American Boys recounts the story of high school students Rashad and Quinn, one Black and one white, and how their lives intersect after Rashad is falsely accused of stealing from a convenience store and badly beaten by a police officer whom Quinn views as a surrogate father. Praised by critics for the novel’s exploration of police brutality and racism, co-authors Reynolds and Kiely decided to write the book after the police killing of Michael Brown. Winner of the 2014 Walter Dean Myers Award for Outstanding Children's Literature and the Amelia Elizabeth Walden Award from the National Council ofTeachers of English, All American Boys is one of the most frequently banned books today because it is claimed to be “anti-police” and promote “divisive topics.”
To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee (led by Sungjoo Yoon)
A classic novel about racism in a small Southern town during the early days of the Depression, To Kill a Mockingbird tells the story of what happens when white attorney Atticus Finch is appointed to defend Tom Robinson, a Black man who has been wrongly accused of raping a white woman. Told from the perspective of Atticus’s six-year-old daughter Scout, To Kill a Mockingbird won the 1961 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction and has long been taught in public schools around the country. It has also frequently been banned for using racial slurs and for depicting rape and a “white savior” narrative.
Award-winning teen journalist Sungjoo Yoon will lead the discussion of To Kill a Mockingbird. Yoon is an incoming senior at Burbank High School in Burbank, California, and chair of the Burbank Youth Board. He wrote the New York Times opinion piece “I’m a High School Junior. Let’s Talk About ‘Huckleberry Finn’ and ‘Mockingbird’” in response to the spate of book bans taking place throughout the country.
Crank by Ellen Hopkins
First published in 2004, Crank chronicles sixteen-year-old Kristina Snow's descent into methamphetamine addiction and its consequences. Loosely based on the experiences of the author’s daughter, who became addicted to methamphetamine as a teenager, the novel is both a cautionary tale and a source of support and comfort for families affected by addiction. Crank was a number one New York Times Best Seller and has won fourteen national and regional awards including the Illinois Teen Readers' Choice Lincoln Award and the International Literacy Association Children’s and Young Adults’ Book Award. It has been banned in many school districts for its depictions of drug use and sexual content.
About the Authors Guild
With more than 12,000 members, the Authors Guild is the nation’s oldest and largest professional organization for published writers. It advocates on behalf of working writers to protect free speech, freedom of expression and authors’ copyrights; fights for fair contracts and authors’ ability to earn a livable wage; and provides a welcoming community for writers and translators of fiction, nonfiction, poetry and journalism. Through its educational and charitable arm, the Authors Guild Foundation, it also offers free programming to teach working writers about the business of writing, as well as organizing events that highlight the importance of a rich, diverse American literary culture and the authors that contribute to it.