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UnDisciplined: Why are book bans on the rise in the US?

LA Johnson
/
NPR

In libraries and schools across the United States, book bans are on the rise, with books on sexuality, gender and race taking center stage and a cultural conflict over what stories children should be permitted to read. This isn't new. There's a long history of book bans in this nation. But there are some ways in which this latest cycle of censorship is different, and perhaps even more alarming.

Genevieve Ford is an associate professor of English at Utah State University and a fierce defender of children's literature.

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Matthew LaPlante has reported on ritual infanticide in Northern Africa, insurgent warfare in the Middle East, the legacy of genocide in Southeast Asia, and gang violence in Central America. But a few years back, something donned on him: Maybe the news doesn't have to be brutally depressing all the time. Today, he balances his continuing work on more heartbreaking subjects by writing books about the intersection of science, human health and society, including the New York Times best-selling <i>Lifespan</i> with geneticist David Sinclair and the Nautilus Award-winning <i>Longevity Plan</i> with cardiologist John Day. His first solo book, <i>Superlative</i>, looks at what scientists are learning by studying organisms that have evolved in record-setting ways, and his is currently at work on another book about embracing the inevitability of human-caused climate change with an optimistic outlook on the future.<br/>