Podcast Brunch Club

BOOK BANNING: April 2024 podcast playlist

Podcast Brunch Club playlist: Book Banning. Shows artwork from shows featured on the playlist.

Banning books is not a new idea, but why is it on the rise today? Books have been burned and banned dating back to 259-210 BC. Chinese emperor Shih Huang Ti, burned all the books in his kingdom in hopes that history would be considered to begin with him. The Roman emperor Caligula banned the reading of The Odyssey, while Elizabeth I ordered a scene that she disliked to be removed from Shakespeare’s Richard II.

Today, librarians around the U.S. are receiving more book challenges than ever, mostly targeting books about people of color or the LGBTQIA+ community. Books ranging from 1984 to Harry Potter are being taken off the shelves. In this playlist you’ll hear from librarians, book sellers, authors, parents, and students who are all experiencing censorship.

See a list of the most banned books of 2022!

This playlist was curated by Kate, a public school teacher and a member of the San Francisco chapter of Podcast Brunch Club.

Podcast Playlist on BOOK BANNING

Get the full playlist on your podcast player of choice using these platforms:

This Month’s Podcast Playlist Running List of PBC Podcast Playlists
Listen Notes | Spotify Listen Notes | Spotify

Now & Then: “Bans, Schools & Power: Book Panics” (February 2022, 51 min)
Book bans are back. What’s causing this resurgence? What have similar acts of censorship meant throughout American history? And how should concerned citizens respond? In this first installment of a special three-part series, “Bans, Schools, & Power: Book Panics,” Heather Cox Richardson and Joanne Freeman discuss three past book panics: the political uproar over Hinton Helper’s 1857 The Impending Crisis of the South, the 1925 Scopes Monkey Trial over the teaching of evolution, and the 1966 Virginia school controversy over Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird. Tune back in next week for a closer look at the specific role of schools in the battle over bans and censorship.
The Daily: “Hong Kong’s Missing Bookseller” (April 2018, 25 min)
When the owner of a thriving bookstore in Hong Kong disappeared in October 2015, questions swirled. What happened? And what did the Chinese government have to do with it? Guest: Alex W. Palmer, a Beijing-based writer who has reported on China for The New York Times Magazine.
The Global Story: “Why book bans are spreading across the United States” (January 2024, 25 min)
The American Library Association says attempts to ban books have reached a record high. Most of the books targeted are by or about members of the LGBTQ community and other minorities. The main battleground is in schools, with parents and teachers arguing about what’s appropriate for children and what’s censorship. To explain this chapter of America’s culture wars, Katya speaks with the BBC’s Annie Phrommayon, who’s based in Florida, where the debate over books is sharpest, and Lucy Proctor, who made the award-winning BBC podcast series The Coming Storm, about polarisation and conspiracies in the US.
The Assignment with Audie Cornish: “Meet the Students Challenging Book Bans” (November 2023, 32 min)
A revisiting of the public school culture wars – this time, from the perspective of students. What have we learned from the kids who are fighting against book bans? How has the war over books sparked a backlash to the so-called parents’ rights movement? In this episode, two busy teen activists – Da’Taeveyon Daniels in Texas and Eliza Lane in Florida – try to answer these questions. And CNN correspondent Elle Reeve, who covers how extremism percolates into everyday life, puts the board room debates over what kids should and shouldn’t read into a national context.
Part-Time Genius: “Fan Favorite: Why Were These Books Banned?” (January 2019, 35 min)
Where’s Waldo isn’t allowed in prisons, Winnie the Pooh can’t set foot in China, and Brown Bear, Brown Bear is forbidden from schools in… Texas?! From Ulysses to sinful Bibles, Will and Mango dive into the story of banned books to tell you all about the titles they don’t want you to read.
Bonus podcast episodes:

  • Consider This from NPR: “The Battle Over Book Bans Takes a Toll on Librarians and Comes at a Financial Cost” (August 2023, 16 min)
    As the battle over book bans in schools and libraries continues to play out in various states across the U.S., the toll it’s taking on librarians is coming at a great cost — personally and financially. Many librarians are speaking up about fearing for their jobs and safety. Yet some conservative activists see the current fight playing out as necessary to protect children. NPR’s Tovia Smith traveled to Louisiana where tensions have been flaring up — pitting librarians against book ban advocates in the local community.
  • Consider This from NPR: “The Political Benefit of Book Bans” (March 2022, 16 min)
    The movement to ban books from public school reading lists is not new, but lately it’s been gaining momentum throughout the country. In part, because fights over children and schools is a tried and true political tool. Revida Rahman, with One WillCo, discusses efforts to ban books in her children’s school district in Williamson County, Tennessee and how this just the newest iteration of parental outrage on display. And Elizabeth Bruenig, staff writer for The Atlantic, explains the political benefit of arguments over masks, critical race theory and book bans at schools. Especially as the U.S. nears midterm elections.
  • NPR’s Book of the Day: “In ‘New Kid,’ a Black seventh grader navigates a new school” (October 2023, 8 min)
    Jordan Banks, the protagonist of New Kid, is a seventh grade student who loves to draw and hopes to one day become a cartoonist. But the graphic novel following Jordan’s arrival at a predominantly white, elite, private school has been challenged numerous times in the state of Texas by people claiming it promotes critical race theory. In today’s episode, author Jerry Craft tells NPR’s A Martinez how those challenges were often presented by parents who had not truly engaged with the material – and why it’s crucial for him to tell coming-of-age stories for Black kids that don’t involve catastrophe.

Conversation Starter Questions:

  1. Who should determine what children read? Does the same go for adults?
  2. Is there a need for public libraries anymore with advances in technology and access to more information than ever online?
  3. Should parents get a say in what children are learning in school? What about other people’s children?
  4. Why do you think people feel the need to ban books for everyone, rather than choosing not to read a book/not allowing their child to read a certain book?
  5. Is banning books harmful or helpful?
  6. Throughout history, the books being challenged coincides with current events. Why do you think the most current banned books are surrounding people of color and the LGBTQIA+ communities?

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