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The Student News Site of St. Edward's University

Hilltop Views

The Student News Site of St. Edward's University

Hilltop Views

Munday Library hosts story time event showcasing banned children’s books

Zemira Recio / Hilltop Views
The books that were chosen to be showcased are amongst the most banned children’s books in the state.

During National Banned Book Week, Oct.1 – 7, Munday Library hosted an honorary event on Oct. 4 dedicated to reading books that have been banned regarding topics about gender, queer identities, ethnicity or race. Students gathered around in the library’s lobby to listen and enjoy the readings of the six books that were featured. 

The list of books that were read include “They, She, He Easy As ABC” by Matthew Sg and Maya Christina Gonzalez, “When Aiden Became A Brother” by Kyle Lukoff, “Sparkle Boy” by Lesléa Newman, “And Tango Makes Three” by Justin Richardson and Peter Parnell, “Worm Loves Worm” by J. J. Austrian and “Julián Is a Mermaid” by Jessica Love. 

Book bans have been recently prominent today in public schools and libraries. The bans challenge and censor works of literature that are considered “harmful,” “inappropriate” or “explicit” by elected officials within the republican party, such as Gov. Ron Desantis and Gov. Greg Abbott, under the precedence of parental rights.

In September, the library staff announced that they were going to hold their first-ever “Banned Book Storytime,” open and welcome to all students. Texas has the most book bans in the country, and this event was planned to help spread awareness about the recent book bans happening in libraries across many school districts in neighboring communities. 

A majority of the banned literary works that are being challenged include LGBTQ+ undertones and themes, with the target audience being elementary school children. Many, especially students, argue that censoring and banning books in general is harmful to young readers because it is contributing to a culture of exclusivity and ignorance.The event provided the opportunity for students to volunteer and read one of the books.

Senior Logan Counce read the children’s book “And Tango Makes Three,” which tells the true story of two male penguins that raise a chick together and form a family of their own in the Central Park Zoo. Despite being published back in 2005, it is one of the most banned books in the country within the last decade and is still being challenged to this day for being “unsuitable” for children.

This was Counce’s first time participating as a reader for any banned book event. They mentioned that they chose to be a reader because the issue concerning banned books and LGBTQ+ literature is one that they are very passionate about. 

“Bringing this kind of literature to a greater audience is something that is beneficial,” Counce said. “These books bring a sense of clarity and acceptance, especially to queer youth.”

The student turnout for this event was much greater than the librarians had anticipated, with an estimated 50 students in attendance. The students seemed very engaged in the readings and were interacting as readers told their stories. 

Freshman Grace Milbrath said that she appreciated the amount of queer representation at the reading. They also highlighted the importance of the storytime and how it promotes inclusivity. 

“Since those books are being banned for younger students across the country, it is important to hear those inclusive messages,” Milbrath said.

Milbrath and Counce urged the importance of hosting more events similar to this that bring attention to more diverse voices in literature.

 “I would like to see more banned books being showcased,” Milbrath said. “Not just children’s books, but any books that are still being challenged in our state.” 

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Zemira Recio
Zemira Recio, Staff Writer
Zemira is a freshman and this is her first year being a Staff Writer for Hilltop Views. She is a political science major and aspires to become a lawyer someday. When she's not writing or doing schoolwork, her favorite past times are reading and painting.

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