Discover resources to combat book banning and censorship in your community.

The American Writers Museum is a staunch supporter of open access to literature. We believe in the power of words and stories to positively change us and thus the world around us, and we believe all stories deserve to be told and heard. We also believe that all people—especially young people—should have access to the kinds of books they need so they may learn vital information, find comfort, and know they are not alone.

So, we’ve compiled a list of programs, podcasts, and banned book lists that deal with censorship and book bans. Find the inspiration to fight back against book banning and the resources you need to combat censorship in your community. Books can change the world, and you can help make sure we all continue to have access to them.


Explore Exhibits

Museum visitor engages with hands on interactive in the AWM's special exhibit "Dark Testament: A Century of Black Writers on Justice"

Dark Testament: A Century of Black Writers on Justice

Our current special exhibit, on display now, honors the significant impact of Black writers by examining the work of Black American writers from the end of the Civil War through the Civil Rights Movement. For centuries, enslaved Africans were banned from reading and writing, and the writers featured in the exhibit had their work challenged numerous time. Plan your visit today!

Classroom resources are available to download as well.

Pauli Murray: Survival With Dignity

Pauli Murray: Survival With Dignity

Pauli Murray was a poet, a lawyer, a priest, a freight hopper, Eleanor Roosevelt’s friend, arrested for refusing to comply with bus segregation laws, a closeted member of the LBGTQ+ community, a professor, and so much more. Their work contains themes that are often censored, and this online exhibit is a great launching point for exploring these themes.

Classroom resources are available to download as well.

My America: Immigrant and Refugee Writers Today

My America: Immigrant & Refugee Writers Today

Explore our temporary exhibit, now available in its entirety online, to see how immigrant and refugee writers have used writing to share represent their homes and people, but also to better understand their journeys and find community. Discover the role writing has played a role in the lives of some of the featured writers, many of whom have had their books banned.

Classroom resources are available to download as well.

In 2022, the American Library Association tracked the highest number of censorship reports since they began tracking this date more than 20 years ago. ALA’s Office for Intellectual Freedom tracked 2,571 unique titles targeted for censorship, 38% more than 2021. Most of the targeted books were written by or about members of the LGBTQIA+ community and people of color.

To learn more about this threat to freedom, Jarrett Dapier discusses the dangers of censorship and book banning with Deborah Caldwell-Stone, Director, ALA Office for Intellectual Freedom; and Kristin Pekoll, Assistant Director, ALA Office for Intellectual Freedom. Recorded live at the inaugural American Writers Festival.

Why Book Bans Are Bad

The writers featured below have either faced censorship challenges to their work and/or actively work to fight back against book bans. Listen to them discuss the dangers of censorship and why banning books is a threat to democracy. Stream all AWM Author Talks episodes here.

Photo of Juno Dawson and book cover of This Book Is Gay

Juno Dawson
This Book Is Gay

“The young, queer youth of America are being told there is something inherently controversial about them. They’re not trying to ban the book, they’re trying to ban them.”

Elizabeth Nunez
Now Lila Knows

“In order to maintain colonialism, you have to understand the power of books…[colonialism] works with books. So are you surprised that people are talking about banning books?”

Meg Medina & Leonard S. Marcus
You Can’t Say That!

“It’s much wiser to provide materials that allow for nuance, that allow for consideration of many points of view, that allow space for conversation, for new ways of seeing. It’s not a threat.”

Vincent Tirado
Burn Down, Rise Up

“I was, generally, a very poor kid. But the one thing I always did have was libraries…and so now when I think of who will be affected by these book bannings, it’s going to be kids like me who didn’t have much anyways.”

Banned Book Lists

As a partner with the American Library Association’s Unite Against Book Bans initiative, the AWM commits to being a safe place to advocate against censorship. We challenge you to be rebellious and add these 11 books to your reading list!


Bestselling authors Sara Paretsky and Joanne Leedom-Ackerman about their craft, the writing process, and the danger of banning books and censorship.