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Carl Hiaasen, banned book week, and censorship in schools

PEN America Managing Director Nadine Farid Johnson (C) speaks during a news conference with (L-R) Rep. Jim McGovern (D-MA), Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-MD) and other House Democrats to announce a bicameral resolution recognizing Banned Books Week outside the U.S. Capitol in Washington, DC.
PEN America Managing Director Nadine Farid Johnson (C) speaks during a news conference with (L-R) Rep. Jim McGovern (D-MA), Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-MD) and other House Democrats to announce a bicameral resolution recognizing Banned Books Week outside the U.S. Capitol in Washington, DC.

Since she was little, Iris Mogul has always loved reading.

When The 16-year-old junior at the Academy Academy for Advanced Academics in South Florida learned that her English teacher was considering not teaching a Toni Morrison book because of the state’s political environment, she decided to start a banned book club.

There were 300 books removed from Florida schools last year, according to a list released by the Florida Department of Education. Nationally, the American Library Association found that the number ofbooks facing challenges for censorshipis up 20 percentfor the first eight months ofthis year compared to2022.  That includes more than 800 books inschool districts across 37 states.

Author Carl Hiaasen knows this landscape all too well. The longtime Miami Herald national columnist and author has witnessed several of his books be removed from schools, prisons, and libraries. He’s already had several events canceled on the nationwide tour of his latest young adult book, “Wrecker.”

We talk with Carl and Iris about the banned book environment. And we’ll hear from Arlington County’s librarian about the challenges of their work.

Copyright 2023 WAMU 88.5

Chris Remington