Last week was the annual Banned Books Week, which aims to bring together a community of book lovers to advocate for the right to read. This year, they’ve promoted hotly contested books that are claimed to be explicit, like Gender Queer by Maia Kobabe, All Boys Aren’t Blue by George M. Johnson, and Flamer by Mike Curato. In contrast, Moms for Liberty made the same week Teach Kids to Read Week, noting startling statistics on X that only a third of public school students are reading on grade level.
Moms for Liberty shared several posts on X about Teach Kids to Read Week, asking followers to spread the word about advocating for children’s literacy. The parent group called literacy “the great equalizer!” and dropped more statistics in other posts, such as 19 out of every 100 low-income fourth-graders can read at grade level, and despite $800 billion being spent each year on education, only a third of fourth-graders can read.
“Where does all the money go?” Moms for Liberty questioned when sharing the $800 billion education budget statistic. They said the school’s budget reflects its priorities and encouraged parents to “take the time to understand school board budgets & become advocates for what matters in public ed[ucation],” especially since so many children cannot read at grade level.
Oklahoma State Superintendent Ryan Walters joined Moms for Liberty’s efforts, announcing his state will begin recognizing Teach Kids to Read Week. In a release, he pointed to the fact that many students struggle to read and condemned efforts by groups like the American Library Association (ALA) trying to indoctrinate kids. Walters said Oklahoma would provide resources to help kids read based on the Science of Reading and will offer paid training for teachers.
The ALA is one of many organizations that supports Banned Books Week in its efforts to promote “the value of free and open access to information.” In fact, the ALA’s most challenged book list—which includes several titles that are claimed to be explicit—are the books highlighted by Banned Books Week. These books are “celebrated” during the week through social media promotions, dramatic readings, and seminars discussing how to fight book bans. Banned Books Week encourages people to purchase or rent these books and to contact legislators to urge them to stop book banning.
Other groups in support of Banned Books Week were teachers’ unions. Last week, the National Education Association consistently posted on X about the need to fight against book banning. At the same time, American Federation of Teachers head Randi Weingarten could be heard yelling about the need to promote banned books.
“There are people who try to stop us from reading,” she exclaimed, announcing her union would give away thousands of books across the country. “We will not stop!”
Meanwhile, some social media accounts highlighted what the ALA was encouraging schools to do, like a banned book “blind date.” In this case, Libs of TikTok alleged a school library wrapped the covers of challenged books so that students wouldn’t know what they were getting. Some other accounts, like Arizona Women of Action, didn’t hold back in sharing the explicit content in the books, like Let’s Talk About It, so that parents would be aware of what’s at stake for their kids.
These posts were reshared by Moms for Liberty, who wanted parents to know what was going on in schools.
“We can do better America!” they wrote on X. “The best way to prepare children for a bright future is to teach them to read.”
Are the children in your district being exposed to explicit content in their classrooms and school libraries? Here’s how to find out (and what to do about it).