YA author David Levithan Sounds alarm over book bans

YA author David Levithan sounded alarm bells about the rise in book banning in the US.  Speaking at a panel at the Bologna Children’s Book Fair he drew a comparison between Vladimir Putin’s book banning in Russia and Florida governor Ron DeSantis’s book bans in his state, both of which target books with LGBTQIA+ content. “What the far right is doing in our country, conservatives in your countries are taking notes from,” Levithan said. “It’s systematic, and a book censorship playbook is at work.”

Giorgia Grilli, professor of children’s literature and co-founder of the Centre for Research in Children’s Literature in the Department of Education at the University of Bologna, noted that in the U.S. it is estimated that there are currently more than 1,000 titles banned in schools.

Levithan believes the harm won’t be to publishers or libraries, but to the children themselves.  “The books don’t matter in this. The children do. It’s an effort by the far right to push the kids back into the closet. The far right don’t care if they kill themselves there,” he said.

A recent survey from PEN America and the American Library Association found that 2,500 books have been banned since August 2022  Levithan concluded

:  “This is a crucial moment. We need to keep publishing these books! The whole [publishing] chain needs to be there. Even a wobble in one part might cause a chilling effect.”