Joslyn is 14 years old, lives in the small town of Kutztown, Pennsylvania, and became viral in all the social media for taking an initiative in the face of the unprecedented wave of banning school plays in USA (USA.). According to the teenager herself, self-proclaimed “book nerd”, she is not willing to accept any measure that endangers freedom.
Local media detailed that there are several reports that show attempts to censor school books during the last nine months. These restrictions directly targeted writings that address issues “LGBTQ, race and racism”.
The story behind the forbidden reading club
As this controversial provision was implemented in Pennsylvania as in other North American school districts, Joslyn Diffenbaugh felt the need to do something. “It’s really problematic because books are the only way you can be in someone else’s shoes.”the eighth grader commented.
Like many young people on American soil, Joslyn formed her “Forbidden Book Club for Teenagers” (Teen Banned Book Club) where members could read and talk about censored works in schools.
“These books are great works of literature, and I really didn’t understand why so many people wanted to ban them. It’s important that people read these books because it helps them grow.” Diffenbaugh specified.
Banned Books Club Received Support
With the help of her mother, Joslyn went ahead with her project and approached Firefly Bookstore, a local store, to see if they would be willing to provide a space, as she reported. Washington Post. “We wanted it to be open to kids from other districts, and we wanted the freedom where everyone could express their opinions without anyone saying those opinions are wrong.”indicated the young woman.
Fortunately, members of the establishment jumped on the bandwagon and the Teen Banned Book Club held its first meeting in January. Since then, the group of 12 teenagers has read novels such as “Animal Farm”, “1984”, “Melissa”, “Stamped: Racism, anti-racism and you”, among others.
Book censorship in the United States
Officials from the American Library Association, the National Coalition Against Censorship and other free speech advocates have warned that censorship efforts in different communities have increased throughout 2021, the Los Angeles Times reports. One example is the novel Gender Queer: A Memoir, which was pulled from high school shelves in Florida, while in Misssouri a bill would ban teachers from using the 1619 Project, a special issue of the New York Times focuses on slavery.