Crisis in the Classroom: The Rise of Book Bans Threatening American Youth


  • Kris Barrios


Inspired by the experiences of his father as a Polish Jew during the reign of Adolf Hitler, author Art Spiegelman wrote Maus to memorialize the lives of Holocaust survivors. However, multiple state governments have attempted to limit American youth’s access to Maus and other classic literature by pulling books from classroom shelves.1 According to PEN America, over 5,000 books have been banned in the United States in the last two years, with more than half of these bans targeting young adult literature.2 The most commonly objected themes in these books were depictions of violence, the discussion of racism, and the inclusion of LGBTQ+ characters.3 As a result, authors like Art Spiegelman are worried that this rise of book bans is part of an agenda to “other” already marginalized groups, inhibiting American children’s ability to navigate an increasingly diverse country.4