What Next

When Your Book Gets Banned by the School Board

How did Ashley Pérez’s novel Out of Darkness get blackballed from schools across the country?


Episode Notes

Banning books in schools is on the rise. Around the country, parents are lobbying to banish from libraries and curriculums any work they deem to be “graphic” or “offensive,” often sweeping up books centered on queer or POC experiences in the process. Some authors say that’s no coincidence—nor is it surprising that this is happening just as the publishing industry is remaking itself to tell more diverse stories. The question is, what’s the best way to respond to the outrage?

Guest: Ashley Hope Pérez, author of three YA novels, including Out of Darkness, and professor of literature at Ohio State University.

Podcast production by Mary Wilson, Danielle Hewitt, Elena Schwartz, and Carmel Delshad.


About the Show

The problem with the news right now? It’s everywhere. And each day, it can feel like we’re all just mindlessly scrolling. It’s why we created What Next. This short daily show is here to help you make sense of things. When the news feels overwhelming, we’re here to help you answer: What next? Look for new episodes every weekday morning.

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  • Mary Harris is the host and managing editor of What Next, Slate's new daily news podcast. She has reported throughout the public radio system, for NPR, Marketplace, and WNYC.