Asian America for Advancing Justice (AAJC) has published a list of Asian American books that have been banned over the past few years. Some are children books that I found hard to find any real problem, such as Grace Lin‘s Caldecott Honor Book A Big Mooncake for Little Star. The AAJC list says that the reason that this book was banned in Pennsylvania is that it talks about Chinese Culture.
In some places, books such as Dim Sum for Everyone (another seemingly innocuous Grace Lin book) have been removed from shelves while they are being “evaluated,” which leaves some school districts room to say it isn’t a ban. Then again, if the books aren’t available, then then that is a effectively a ban. One apparent reason for these bans is that the books are on lists of books recommended for teaching diversity. This article about how one of Kelly Yang books, Front Desk, about a Chinese immigrant family who run a motel and based on her own experiences, generated parental objections, is illustrative of the concerns and thinking of ban proponents. You can also see some of this thinking in the book’s one star reviews on Amazon.
Ironically, as this article points outs, book bans are a great way to get books read, especially as kids often do the opposite of what you tell them to do (i.e. forbidden fruit). AAJC has sourced the data for their list from Pen America’s Book Ban pages.