Books & Libraries

Banned book mobile to stop in Houston Saturday

From July to December last year, 1,477 books were challenged, according to PEN America.

Kindred Stories is an independent book store in Houston’s Third Ward.

A mobile library hauling dozens of banned books will make a stop in Houston Saturday.

A project by PEN America, The Freedom to Read Foundation, Penguin Random House and Little Free Library, The Banned Wagon is making stops across the country to hand out copies of books that have notably been censored or banned in some of the most affected communities.

Houstonians can stop by Kindred Stories, an independent book store in Houston’s Thirds Ward to pick up copies of some of the 12 titles that will be handed out for free from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.

Some of those include “The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks” by Rebecca Skloot, “How to Be an Antiract” by Ibram X. Kendi, and “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings” by Maya Angelou and Oprah Winfrey.

The truck is making the stop to top off Banned Book Week days after Harris County officials passed a resolution to make Harris County libraries a book sanctuary system.

From July to December last year, 1,477 books were challenged, with titles centering racial inequality and LGBTQ+ themes, according to PEN America.

That pattern has widely been seen across Texas, and Houston area school districts have made headlines in the past year for removing books with content deemed inappropriate. 67 books were banned in Houston-area school districts just this year.

Texas has banned more books than any other state in the country, about 800 books across 22 school districts, according to PEN America.

“We need to do as much as we can to protect and promote libraries, and librarians, as learning centers for diversity, equity and inclusion,” Harris County Commissioner Rodney Ellis said Monday.

“I am so proud that Harris County Library System is a source for banned books,” he said.