More than 1,600 books were banned in over 5,000 schools during the last school year, with most of the bans targeting titles related to the LGBTQ community or race and racism, according to a new report.
PEN America, a nonprofit group that advocates for free expression in literature, released a report Monday, the start of Banned Books Week, that shows the sweeping scope of efforts to ban certain books during the 2021-22 school year.
It found that there were 2,532 instances of individual books’ being banned, which affected 1,648 titles — meaning the same titles were targeted multiple times in different districts and states.
Books were banned in 5,049 schools with a combined enrollment of nearly 4 million students in 32 states, the report found.
Because PEN America stuck to documented cases of bans, which included reports to the group from parents and school staff members and news reports about book bans, the report says its data most likely undercounts the true number of bans.