Are Literary Agents Seeing Changes in Publishing with Increased Book Bans (A Survey): Book Censorship News, March 24, 2023
There are a lot of suspicions that during this era of book bans, we’ll begin to see a different output of material from publishers. They may pull back on queer books and/or books by people of color, those books which approach “sensitive” topics like sex and sexuality, and even graphic novels. Unfortunately, because of how publishing works years in advance, we won’t be able to see how this plays out for another year or two.
But there is another element of the publishing ecosystem worth reaching to see if they have seen changes: literary agents.
For those who are not familiar with what agents do, the short answer is they represent the authors and books and work to sell those books to editors on the behalf of those authors. They are, for lack of a better way to describe it, the intermediaries. As such, they have a lot of insight both into what’s happening to authors and what’s happening in Big Five Publishing.
This week, I’ve put together a survey for literary agents to share what they’re seeing in the world of books with regard to book bans. Any agent is welcome to partake, and they may pass the survey along to colleagues — it is anonymous, with no required number of questions to be answered.
You can access the survey here.
Answers will be collected through the middle of April, with a late-April publication date of the information shared. There is room for including lengthier comments, though they may be edited for clarity or space if shared in the results.
Book Censorship News: March 24, 2023
- There’s not really good news this week, so I’m going to start with it: the Illinois House passes the bill banning book bans. It moves onto the Senate.
- 40 books, most by or about LGBTQ+ and people of color, have been pulled from shelves in Canby Public Schools (OR) for reconsideration. The students are not happy.
- Seven books have been permanently removed from Pender County schools (NC) while several others are under review.
- Further: “PCD asked Korn how he compiled the list of books. He and his advocacy group, Concerned Citizens of Pender County [NC], partnered with Pavement Education Project, a Durham-based “nonpartisan” group geared toward alerting parents to obscene books and materials in public schools. ” So not even doing their own work.
- When a book is pulled from shelves, it’s called a ban. This is the debate over two books were banned from Central York schools (PA).
- This Book Is Gay was pulled from Sioux City’s West High School (IA) because it was featured on the Libs of TikTok Twitter account. No, that’s really it.
- It is so hard for me to understand what school board members are not understanding about how these demands to remove books are a coordinated effort and not legitimate complaints. We’re back in Rapid City schools (SD).
- “Suffield First Selectman Colin Moll was criticized this week by a handful of residents for his decision to remove a children’s book about pronouns from a display at Kent Public Library [CT].” A government official removing material is indeed called censorship.
- The good news is that Angie Thomas’s book is back on shelves. But why did they disappear in the first place? (Mississippi).
- “A school board meeting Thursday night in Greenlawn drew a police presence due to the possibility of friction caused by parents who are concerned that the content of two books in the Elwood Union Free School District are too graphic for their kids.” Police at a school board meeting because of bigots wanting to remove LGBTQ+ books from the library (NY).
- Parents are pushing back against the 80 books removed from shelves in Martin County, Florida, schools. Why have no red flags gone off about a group of parents “compiling lists” of these books? I don’t get it. We’re two years into this.
- A special seven-hour board meeting in Escambia County (FL) led to no books being banned.
- Placentia-Yorba Linda Unified School District (CA) is debating whether or not to ban Persepolis. Apparently, it’s 2007 again.
- “After the board meeting, Schenkel opened up ‘My Family, Your Family’ and pointed to an illustration of a girl with two fathers. One of them had a bag under his arm. She said it could be confusing to preschoolers who pay most attention to external appearances. ‘I don’t necessarily have a problem with presenting couples of various orientations,’ she said. ‘What I have an issue with is the purse here because that sends a mixed message. The child is not going to know if that’s a boy or a girl.'” This…doesn’t even make sense. What kind is going to be confused about gender because of a bag? Because of two fathers? This is the Spartanburg Public Library (SC).
- Clear Creek Independent School District (TX) is opening up the door for book bans galore.
- Forest Hills Public Schools (MI), where a superintendent was caught — and admitted to — removing books from shelves, is going to implement a new system where parents can decide what their kids read. These have been implemented across other districts and are super unpopular. A reminder that 1% are speaking for the other 99%.
- Three books are being challenged at the Staples High School library (CT) and the process is getting under way. All of them are queer books. Why were they challenged? Because they were on a banned book display.
- Shocker: most people in Meridian, Idaho, support their public library.
- In Guilford Public Schools (NH), several parents are complaining about the same LGBTQ+ books they’re complaining about everywhere. They have not, however, bothered to fill out the reconsideration forms.
- “The board on Wednesday voted 3-2 to send the book Let’s Talk About It by Erika Moen and Matthew Nolan, to the city attorney over concern from a board member that having the book at the library was breaking state statute and city code.” This is the Anchorage Public Library (AK). It’s a convenient way to condone censorship without needing to take responsibility for it. (You may remember Anchorage Public Library from earlier reporting.)
- In senior classrooms in a Mendham, New Jersey, high school — classes full of 17 and 18 year olds — parents are angry Fun Home is being used.
- This story has…a LOT to unpack. “The meeting follows a controversial decision by the Telford Borough Council [PA] to slash funding for the Indian Valley Public Library, reallocating the funds to the police department. The decision kicked off a fiery debate in the community about age-appropriate content at the library. Supporters of the funding cut claim that the library is providing sexually-explicit material to children, which opponents characterized as a false hysteria rooted in prejudice towards the LGBT community.”
- The Oklahoma State Department of Education is moving to revoke the teaching license of an English teacher who provided students with a QR code to the Brooklyn Public Library banned books resources. This is fascism.
- Public records requests sure are something. Whew. (Faulkner County Public Library, AR.)
- What happened to Heritage Month displays at the Orem Public Library (UT)?
- People have LINED UP to get involved in the book challenge committee — sorry, materials review committee — in League City, Texas, for the public library.
- This article is paywalled, but it looks as though parents are trying to propose the Moms For Liberty book rating system into the Grand Haven (MI) schools.
- In Sun Prairie, Wisconsin, a parent harassed the school after a read aloud of When Aiden Became a Brother and is now angry about the cease and desist letter received.
- If you’re not paying attention to the school board candidates right now, you’re missing out on who is building their entire platform around book banning (Columbia Public Schools, MO, is a shining example).
- There should be a lot more concern about patrons demanding that a library leave its interlibrary system over queer books (NC).
- “A Connecticut man is in custody Thursday night after authorities charged him for allegedly making a bomb threat toward the Hendersonville Public Library this week.” Let’s recall this library’s director got fired, and that this whole story takes place in Kentucky, where Kirk Cameron played victim and one of the Duck Dynasty folks showed up. Yeah, it’s a party.
- Texas lawmakers are spending precious time, money, and resources legislating books throughout the state.
- The Louisiana ACLU has penned an open letter on library censorship through the state.
- This thread from Laney Hawes on the book bans in her Texas school district — with the reasons why the books are being challenged — should concern you. This is happening across the country.
- Central Bucks Schools (PA) spent a quarter million dollars on legal fees to cover themselves for their bigotry.
- Hilton, New York, schools had a bomb threat emailed this week. Why? Because of the book This Book Is Gay being on library shelves.
- The Haters will be banned from Beaufort County Schools (SC).
- Kalona Public Library (IA) has had a challenge of Gender Queer. But remember, kids, you can just get those books at your local public library!
- “One resident, Sue Ann Balch, said that the books have pornography and she reported them to the Auburn Police Division [AL] to be investigated. ” They’re just taking books in the public library to the police.
- The Bible has been challenged now in Davis County schools (UT).
- I should not be laughing at the caption of this image but I am because it’s just right. Anyway, You Know Sex is under fire at the Conway Public Library (AR).
- An absolutely useless “article” about the fight over All Boys Aren’t Blue being challenged in Greenville schools (NY). Shared mostly to record this is happening even in “blue” states and to highlight how helpful the media is.
- A lengthy discussion of word choice in the new Indianola Public School materils policy (IA). I should note that the Alexanders here are connected to the local Moms group and Patty had suggested the Moms for Liberty book rating system last year. They’re book crisis actors.
- Paywalled here, but sharing anyway: mental health curriculum is under fire in Miami public schools because why not (FL)?
- 13 Reasons Why will remain in Forsyth County Schools (GA).
- At Bow High School (NH), Gender Queer will remain on shelves.
Also In This Story Stream
- Unfurling The Book Banner Lies: Book Censorship News, June 2, 2023
- When Do We Move From Advocacy to Preparation?: Book Censorship News, May 26, 2023
- A Bill in Connecticut Would Fund Sanctuary Libraries: Book Censorship News, May 19, 2023
- How To Prepare Library Pride Displays: Book Censorship News, May 12, 2023
- 2023 Right to Read Bills Under Consideration: Book Censorship News, May 5, 2023
- The Next Generation United Daughters of the Confederacy: Book Censorship News, April 28, 2023
- So, What Are Agents Seeing in the Era of Book Bans?: Book Censorship News, April 21, 2023
- What 100-Year-Old Grace Linn Can Teach Us About Standing Up for the Freedom to Read: Book Censorship News, March 31, 2023
- I Asked ChatGPT Why Books Should Be Banned: Book Censorship News, March 17, 2023