UConn's This is America: Censorship of Books

Challenges to books about race, gender, and sexual orientation are nothing
new in America, but the tactics and politicization are. UCONN alum had a discussion on how book-banning attempts have grown in the U.S in public libraries, schools, and prison libraries affected diverse identities.


On February 23, 2023, there was a powerful discussion about the censorship of books with Dr. Jefferey F. Hines, our publishing founder, Dr. Melissa-Sue John,  Tracey-Ann A. Lafayette, and Stephanie Birch. 

About the panelists

In June 2022, Dr. Hines was named the inaugural Chief Diversity
Officer for the University of Connecticut Health System.

Jeffery Hines

Tracey Lafayette (she/her) is a third-grade teacher in East Hartford, Connecticut. She is an alum of Neag’s Integrated Bachelor’s/Master’s program (’15,’16) and UConn’s Administrator Preparation Program (’22).

Tracey Ann Lafayette

Stephanie Birch (she/her) is the Africana & African Studies Librarian at the
UConn Library. Before coming to UConn in 2022, Stephanie served as the
African American Studies Librarian at the University of Florida since 2016. She
holds graduate degrees in African Studies, History, and Library Science from
the University of Illinois.

Stephanie Birch

Melissa-Sue John, Ph.D. is a social psychologist, mentor, author, publisher, and
owner of Lauren Simone Publishing House, and a professor at the University of
Saint Joseph.

Dr. Melissa-Sue John

In 2023, people of color, especially Black Americans yearn for the representation we deserve. Only five percent of authors are black while the percentage of black characters is twelve.

Diversity in childrens books 2020


Book banning is nothing new to the United States but is now happening at an alarming rate, according to Pen America. 

book banning

A common reason lawmakers and organizations give for restricting the books is that they are inappropriate because they’re hypersexualized.

book banning

Dr. John gave several pieces of advice to resist these changes including "If we take the time to read the literature, we can defend why they’re not inappropriate for students."

banned books

The other professors agreed as well!  It’s important to remember that a fight is never over unless you give up.

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