A major Texas independent bookstore and the Austin Public Library have teamed up to offer the capital’s youth a unique summertime opportunity this summer: “Forbidden Camp.”
Amid an unprecedented effort by conservatives across the state to ban books that explore sexuality, gender identity and race, camp organizers planned over a dozen in-person and remote events throughout the summer to spotlight these banned and contested titles to move.
“Our local community members have reached out to us to see what we can do, what voice we have, to prevent this from happening in our local schools?” Charley Rejsek, CEO of the BookPeople store, told NBC News.
One of the first events in the series, held on June 16 at one of the city’s public libraries, was a Conversation with George M. Johnson, author of All Boys Are Not Blue. This award-winning memoir is a series of coming-of-age essays from the LGBTQ activist. It was also #3 on the American Library Association Top 10 most challenged books of 2021.
Other titles in the Banned Camp series include Heartstopper, an LGBTQ graphic novel for young adults, and 1984, George Orwell’s classic dystopian novel.
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, a Republican, signed a controversial bill Law last year restricting the teaching of race-related subjects in the state’s public schools. The measure was then expanded to include the subject of human sexuality.
In February, NBC News reported that books about race and sexuality were disappearing from Texas schools in record numbers.
Texas high school student Cate Marshburn said she thinks the banning of these books is “very fear driven and makes me afraid and uncomfortable talking to her children about the subjects in these books.”
For a list of the remaining Banned Camp events this summer, see Austin Public Library website.
Brooke Sopelsa contributed.
https://www.nbcnews.com/nbc-out/out-news/texas-kids-read-prohibited-books-banned-camp-rcna39907 Texas kids read banned books at ‘Banned Camp’