The Authors Guild Banned Books Club is pleased to announce its next three selections. The free monthly book club, which is hosted on the social reading app Fable, features contemporary and classic award-winning novels and memoirs currently banned in one or more school districts in the United States. The upcoming titles are:

  • Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson (begins May 25)
  • Red at the Bone by Jacqueline Woodson (begins June 22)
  • Lawn Boy by Jonathan Evison (begins July 27)

Hundreds of readers from around the country have joined the Authors Guild Banned Books Club since it launched last month. Anyone interested can join the book club on Fable and access the moderated book discussion and other valuable resources at any time. Each book’s author will lead the discussion to help readers understand the story and find their own meaning in it.

“All of us can recall the confusion, drama, and intensity of adolescence,” said Douglas Preston, President of the Authors Guild. “Our teen years are when most of us begin to grapple with questions of race, identity, sexuality, power, and who we are. School book banning doesn’t just deprive students of a diversity of perspectives, it denies and negates their developing identities at a time when they are struggling and vulnerable, causing far-reaching damage. Our Banned Books Club affirms the rights of all students to read stories about who they are, and we hope through it to introduce readers—adults and teens alike—to gifted and important authors.”

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.

Award-winning literature that captures the full range of the human experience

Speak chronicles the struggles of thirteen-year-old Melinda Sordino after she is raped by another student at a party the summer before her freshman year of high school. The assault affects all aspects of her school and home life, yet she refuses to tell anyone what happened. Indeed, she stops speaking altogether. Narrated in the first person, readers are at first unaware of Melinda’s silence and the reason behind it. As the story unfolds, hints and clues in the text emerge as readers gain access to Melinda’s memory of what happened that left her so afraid to use her voice. Winner of the 1999 Edgar Allan Poe Award, the 1999 Los Angeles Times Book Prize and the 2000 Golden Kite Award for Young Adult Fiction, Speak ranked #4 among the most banned and challenged books in the United States in 2020 because “it was claimed to be biased against male students, and included rape and profanity."

Red at the Bone details the story of two black families from different social classes who come together when high schoolers Iris and Aubrey become pregnant. Moving forward and backward through time, the novel explores the transformative impact of parenthood and uncovers the role that history and community have played in the experiences, decisions, and relationships of the two families. Woodson is a National Book Award Winner, a four-time Newbery Honor winner, a two-time NAACP Image Award Winner and a two-time Coretta Scott King Award Winner. The Library of Congress named her 2018-2019 National Ambassador for Young People's Literature. Red at the Bone, which was a finalist for the 2019 Women’s Prize for Fiction, is one of nine books by Woodson that have been banned in one or more U.S. public schools.

Lawn Boy tells the story of Mike Muñoz, a young adult Mexican American who has faced economic hardship and racism throughout his childhood. In its starred review, School Library Journal praised Lawn Boy as a “readable and deeply thought-provoking” novel that explores themes such as race, sexual identity, and the crushing weight of American capitalism. The American Library Association recognized Lawn Boy with a 2019 Alex Award, which honors the “ten best adult books published each year that appeal to teen audiences.” Lawn Boy was the second most often banned and challenged book in 2021 for containing “LGBTQIA+ content and sexually explicit scenes.” To date, 16 school districts in 11 states have banned the book from their classrooms, school libraries, or both.